Jun 24 2014

Was the First Parkway Fast Food Restaurant Located in Central Park (Bethpage)?

Frank Femenias found this 2010 article by Rosalie Walsh Niemczyk on the Foran Family House located right off the Motor Parkway in Central Park (now Bethpage). He has requested more information about the possible "very first fast-food drive thru window."

Central Park Historical Society Encylopedia: Collecting Bethpage History

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Foran had a home bordering the Vanderbilt (Old Motor) Parkway at the end of Broadway (So.), Central Park. This home was later purchased by the Roth Family.

Actually, it could be said that Dick Foran "founded" the fast-food industry. Let me explain: As I said, the Foran house was right on the side of the Old Motor Parkway. Many motorist, who traveled out from Queens on their way to Ronkonkoma, were thirsty and hungry by the time they got to Central Park (dusty, too!). They would stop at Foran's to seek some victuals. Mr. Foran saw a commercial opportunity here, and utilizing a window on the south side of the house passed food and beverages through it!

Dorothy Foran, one of three daughters, married Raymond McGunnigle, and they had three children: Raymond, Brian, Eileen.

Submitted by Rosalie Walsh Niemczyk 1/23/10


With the assistance of my favorite co-author Al Velocci, Gary Hammond, Ann Albertson and Frank Femenias, below is information on this very unique building on the perimeter of the Long Island Motor Parkway.



Howard Kroplick

According to the tax records, the Foran property located on Broadway in Central Park on the perimeter of the Motor Parkway was built in 1929. According to Al Velocci , the land was purchased by Richard Foran from the Long Island Motor Parkway, Inc.

Gary Hammond provided this profile information: Richard Foran (born Aug. 1886) and family moved to Central Park sometime between 1920 (living in Babylon) and 1925 (living on Windhurst Ave., Central Park).   By 1930, they were living on Broadway.   He was a NYC Patrolman.  He died sometime between 1930 & 1940 when his wife, Ellen (age 54) is listed as a widow.

Al Velocci and Gary Hammond found these ads in the Long Island Point-To-Point Tours, copyright 1931 by R. B. Fernhead (R. B. Fernhead Publications, Brentwood, N.Y.), Third Edition, Issued by Long Island Chamber of Commerce.  Note: Original reference corrected June 29, 2014.

The ad for the Motor Parkway is filled with information: "Built exclusively for pleasure Automobiles at a cost to date of over $6,000,000 including the elimination of 60 highway and all railroad crossings....One-way ticket from New York to Lake Ronkonkoma..$1.00. Season Ticket, January 1st to December 31st..$100.00."

Check out the treasure below the Motor Parkway ad.  Al found an 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.


This is a view of the "Halfway House Tea Room" as it looked in 2008. As noted in Rosalie's article, there was previously a food serving window on the side of the building which now serves as a garage.

In 2008, there were several concrete posts  in the back of the property marking out a parking area for automobiles.

Remnants of the Motor Parkway were still visible near the property.

As seen in this 1950 aerial, the Halfway House was just west of Deadman's Curve.

Frank Femenias has created this 2014 Google Earth map of the location of the Halfway House Tea Room.

In conclusion, it is possible that Foran's Halfway House Tea Room was the first parkway fast food restaurant. However, food historians attribute the first fast food restaurants to the Greeks and Romans and the first fast food chain to White Castle which was founded in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas.

Update From Frank Femenias (July 5, 2014)

Frank Femenias: "Here are more 1938 aerials of Foran's property from the Stony Brook Digital Library. Check out the parking lot wear and tear on the property! After opening the Tea Room, I don't believe he was ever able to grow grass there again. lol."

Frank Femenias: "I believe these 2000 pics reveal the "Frankfurters Deluxe" drive through window. The drive thru path was simulated from the 38 aerial. Frankfurters Deluxe - I can't stop laughing."

Posts (north/south) on the site in 2000 . Courtesy of Art Kleiner.

Posts (west/east) on the site in 2000 . Courtesy of Art Kleiner.


Jun 25 2014 brian d mccarthy 1:37 PM

This is really neat. I’ve passed this house many times not knowing it’s significance. Whoever resides here now must know the LIMP is right outside their window.
From Howard Kroplick

The house was sold last year. The new owner does know the history of his new home.

Jun 25 2014 Colleen Albertson 2:29 PM

I know the house, I pass it every so often when we visit some friends on Arthur Ave, it is right the on Broadway here in Bethpage at the end of Arthur Ave which runs along the Motor Parkway. I think it was like a drive in restaurant of sorts I believe when the Motor Parkway used to go though the area I heard they served sandwiches and coffee to the motorists who passed through. I do not know the name of it but I have seen some pictures before of it as well besides yours shown here.
From Howard Kroplick

Colleen, thanks! If anyone has a photo of the Halfway House Tea Room while it was active on the Motor Parkway, please send it to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Jun 25 2014 Ted 9:34 PM

What do you know , I’ve passed that house lots of times too

Jun 25 2014 Art Kleiner 9:37 PM

Yes, I met the new owners of the house a short time after they moved in last year - they were cleaning out the yard and I noted the significance of the concrete posts.  Very hospitable people who appreciate the historical significance of their property.

Jun 25 2014 Art Kleiner 9:40 PM

More photos of the posts on and near the property.  Taken in 2005 when I met the previous owner.  http://www.freewebs.com/limparkway/bethpagebroadway.htm
From Howard Kroplick

Art, super photos!

Jun 26 2014 frank femenias 6:04 PM

Hi Art: Looking at your 2005 photos and the 1938 aerial, there appears to be a circular driveway going back around to Broadway. Is it possible the posts served as a perimeter for a circular driveway? I’m guessing the Tea Room may have been very busy and an alternate route was needed back to the parkway.

Jun 28 2014 Art Kleiner 7:01 PM

Frank - couldn’t tell you for certain, but a possibility.

Jul 06 2014 brian d mccarthy 1:35 PM

Wow, you can’t miss the drive thru path around the property in 1938.  I guess he drummed up enough customers there. I always have a hard time getting around the Stony Brook website.

Jul 06 2014 Mark desantis 10:48 PM

I was able to see the inside of the garage wall that faces south towards the motor parkway and had large cut outs for large windows which would swing open. Which would sell food according to the owners in the 1960s. There were many more cement posts which are now missing.  I used to ride my bicycle in the mid 60s on the motor parkway and would talk with the family at his house.

Jul 07 2014 frank femenias 1:13 PM

Hi Brian,

You’re right about Stony Brook. It’s tough surfing there. The easiest way I found is to have the browser opened twice separately to the link below (1938 Aerial Photographs of Suffolk County). Leave one always viewing this page. With the other one, click on any of the map links below. When the map appears, use the ‘Return to Thumbnail List’ link at the top center of the page. Keep using the browser’s back button to navigate back and forth. This helps a bit.


Jul 07 2014 brian d mccarthy 6:41 PM

Thanks, Frank.

Jul 16 2014 Colleen 8:39 PM

Dorothy was my grandmother.  I never met her and don’t know too much about her family.  It was very exciting to stumble upon this history.  Oddly enough I named my daughter Ellen without knowing!

Aug 01 2014 Colleen 10:29 AM

I believe I found an actual picture of the drive thru in our family photos - how can I send it to you folks?

From Howard Kroplick

Super! Please email to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) . Thanks!

Sep 10 2018 Jean Gaskill 9:06 AM

My parents (Cloonan family) bought this home in the mid 1950’s shortly after I was born. We resided in this home for 5 or 6 years. My father who was a NYC police detective said he had found evidence that he felt it was also a speak easy back in the day. He also realized it was a “drive in” restaurant but found evidence of a speak easy.

It was a beautiful home and have many memories of this home . 

Howard Kroplick

Jean, thanks for the background. Do you have any early photos of the house? If so, please forward to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Sep 12 2018 S. Berliner, III 12:02 AM

Wow - am I EVER old!  I remember 5¢ hamburgers at the White Castle on the north-east corner of Sunrise Highway and Broadway in Lynbrook.  Little squares of grey cardboard in a tiny square bun - inedible except for scads of Heinz ketchup!  OMG - it’s still there (satellite view)!  Lots of Mar 2000 pix of Deadman’s Curve at <http://sbiii.com/limpkwy5.html#deadman>.  Sam, III

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