Aug 09 2014 Exclusive: Then & Now- The First Parkway Fast Food Restaurant

On June 24, 2014, information and photos were posted on the Halfway House Tea Room, possibly the first parkway fast food restaurant in the United States. What was missing were photos of Ellen Foran's Tea Room when it was in operation in Central Park (Bethpage) from 1929 to 1938.

Colleen Underwood, the great-granddaughter of Ellen Foran, has searched  her family albums and discovered three relevant photos for These photos and permission of the current  owner to document the property provide another dramatic Then & Now. Thanks so much for contributing to preserving Motor Parkway history!

Hope to see you tomorrow at the Motor Parkway East Walk/Ride.


Howard Kroplick

Al Velocci found this ad promoting Ellen V. Foran's "Halfway House Tea Room between the Bethpage Lodge and Massapequa Lodge on the Motor Parkway. Noted for  "Frankfurters De Luxe.""  Gas, oil and motorist supplies were also available at the location.

Then: 1938

Colleen's first photo shows the restaurant's distinctive facade and a Socony gas pump.

Gas was being sold for only 16 cents per gallon.

Look closely and you can see Motor Parkway concrete posts with three rows of wire.

Colleen's second photo shows a Socony sign and a second pump. Note the distinctive patio on top of the restaurant and the brick facade.

Pictured in the photo are Dorothy (Foran) McGunnigle (right), the daughter of Ellen Foran, her husband Raymond McGunnigle (left) and their son Raymond (middle). Baby Ray would become the uncle of Colleen Underwood.

A close-up of the Socony sign and pump.

Ellen Foran, proprietor of the Halfway House Tea Room, as seen in 1943.

Then: 2000

Art Kleiner discovered these Motor Parkway concrete posts along the west/east perimeter of the property...

...and these posts along the north/south perimeter.

Then: 2008

Sometime around 1940, the restaurant was turned into a garage. As seen in 2008, the patio above the garage, the roof overhang and the brick facade match Colleen's 1938 photos.

Several Motor Parkway concrete posts were seen on the perimeter of the property.

Now: 2014

The brick facade has disappeared in a recent renovation. However, the distinctive patio and roof overhang remain.

The backyard of the property is significant larger than its neighbors. It was used as a parking lot when the Halfway House Tea Room was in business.

Two Motor Parkway conctere posts are still standing on the east border of the property.

The Tea Room is now used for storage. No boxes of "Frankfurters De Luxe" could be found!


Aug 10 2014 Joseph DeBono 5:02 AM

Hi Howard This is Joe DeBono The Halfway House tea room, had another gas pump to the right that you can,t see in those photo’s (totaling three) and a little structure to store motor oil. Also, about 15 years ago the sliding front windows were still inside the storage/garage.Back then you could see them from the inside only.There is another thing to tell about that place, that’s for another time. Keep up the good work

Aug 10 2014 Ken Harris 9:08 AM

Thanks for the nice update!


Aug 10 2014 brian d mccarthy 4:14 PM

Great photo of the Tea Room. I imagine local residents could’ve took a little walk down to have a bite here, not just parkway travelers.

Aug 10 2014 S. Berliner, III 5:16 PM

Just a reminder that Socony was the Standard Oil Co. of NY, which became Socony-Vacuum, then Socony-Mobil, and then just Mobil.  The original Standard Oil Co. of NJ became Esso (“S” “O”), then merged with Humble to become Exxon.  In 1999, Exxon and Mobil came back together as Exxon-Mobil.  O. K., Joe; whaddya know?  Come clean soon, please.  Sam, III

Aug 11 2014 frank femenias 1:44 AM

Wow, this is great! Nice job on the Tea Room Howard. And thank you much Colleen for those priceless photos, and to the current owner of the Halfway House! This all truly educates and help clarify the history of the Long Island Motor Parkway!

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