On June 30, 1956, the Loew’s Route 35 Drive-In theater first opened in Hazlet. New Jersey has a long history with drive-ins, with the very first true drive-in theater having opened in 1933 in Camden. During the “Golden Age” of drive-ins (1950’s – 60’s), there were over 4,000 theaters across the U.S. There are still approximately 325 drive-in theaters operating in the United States.
The Route 35 drive-in was the first Loews Theatres open-air theater in the state, built to be the ultimate family-safe destination, with free admission for kids, boardwalk food like hot dogs in addition to popcorn and candies, and even restrooms. Rising real-estate prices, the advent of multiplex indoor theaters, and the video casette recorder, all led to the demise of drive-ins, and the Loew’s theater in Hazlet closed on September 4, 1991, and was demolished. It was the last of the Golden Age drive-ins in New Jersey.