Before they carved the New York State Thruway out of the mountains between NYC and the Catskills and before impersonal travel plazas warted up that Thruway – Before Disney World and Atlantic City became iconic destinations of the East Coast and well before we thought $3.47 was cheap gas – there was the Red Apple Rest on Route 17.
The Red Apple Rest was directly in the middle of a Yelpless road trip to the mountains from the city.
It was busy as a sea port. It was the South of the Border rest stop of New York with its detonation of billboards counting down the miles to its hot dogs, sodas, and bathrooms.
In 1965 the Rest served one million customers.
Comics such as Jerry Lewis and Milton Berle would trade punchlines there on their way to the Raleigh Hotel.
It was a destination within a destination.
Today the Red Apple Rest is an abandoned, rotting husk. An empty telephone booth leans against its locked doors.
Its roof has sunken in and its welcoming cherry and teal paint has faded.
The Red Apple Rest sign still hangs proudly though above a hand painted For Lease/For Sale sign.
In the cracked and empty parking lot you can hear the rush of the NYS Thruway while standing beneath the giant Apple Rest sign.