45 minutes north of NYC on State Route 17 lies the abandoned & silent ghost of the Red Apple Rest.
A icon of long past era of vacationing, the Red Apple was a fabled stopover for New Yorkers on their way to resorts, summer homes and families in the Catskills.
In the 1950's, it boasted a million customers a year and served 350,000 hot dogs. The enormous asphalt field of the parking lot would be filled with cars and buses.
Traffic along 17 (this was before the New York State Thruway was built) would often be so slow that family members could get out of their moving cars, use the bathroom, make a phone call and order some food before their ride has passed the Red Apple.

The Red Apple was started by Reuben Freed, a refugee from Russia. He bought a combination gas station-refreshment stand in 1931 on Hwy. 17 and called it the Red Apple, after his chef, a red-haired man named Red Appel.
The restaurant hit its stride after WWII. It stayed open 24 hours a day. Freed almost never went home. The Thruway dealt it a slow death, as did the lessening popularity of the Catskill resorts, which eventually closed one by one. Freed died in 1980. In 1985, Freed's son Herbert sold the place to Peter Kourakos.

The Red Apple mysteriously closed in September 2006. Signs in the window and a telephone answering machine message, said "We went away for a graduation and vacation." The restaurant never reopened. It was condemned on Jan. 23, 2007, due to roof damage. It has sat there ever since.

I myself used to frequently stop here in my tractor trailer, in the years from 1992-1997 when i hauled trailer loads of rubbush from Ramapo northbound 40 miles to Al Turi Landfill. The coffee & rice pudding was to die for.
The job is long gone & I have moved out of Orange County NY but visited & photographed the poor forgotten Red Apple mid-September 2009 after hearing of its demise.
There are now "for sale or lease" signs on the old magnificent restaurant. Hopefully some wealthy investor will buy the Red Apple & restore it to its former glory. If not, the old place will surely be missed by thousands, including myself.


Red Apple Rest 1

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