Best Drive-In Movie Theater - 2003
Once a monolith rising from the open fields of the river bottom, the Skyview Drive-In now competes with the strip malls, fast food and the hectic traffic of North Belt West in Belleville. Opened in the summer of 1949, the Skyview was state of the art -- even expanding, like a dinosaur sprouting freakish wings, to Cinemascope dimensions -- until a tornado ripped those wings off in 1955. Twenty-six years later another wind storm all but razed the pink structure. The drive-in rose again, this time with two screens, now showing double features on summer nights. The look and feel of a '50s drive-in remains: The rocket-ship marquee announces titles like Matrix: Reloaded and American Wedding, kids hit the swings on the simple playground, and teenagers hustle corn dogs and lemonade at the snack shop. The sound system has abandoned the window-mount speakers and now transmits via radio waves; bring lounge chairs and a portable radio and you can sit under the stars and sink into the dream that only movies -- gigantic and irresistible as the horizon -- inspire.