New York

McDonald’s Isn’t Road Food in New York Anymore

McDonald's food on asphalt

photo: (Shutterstock)

If you’ve ever taken a road trip through New York State, you’ve driven the thoroughfarea roughly 500-mile freeway system connecting New York City to Buffalo and passing through Albany.

The thruway is efficient and uncomplicated. It’s also extraordinarily boring – especially the part that connects Albany and Buffalo. At about 300 miles, this section takes about four and a half hours to traverse and seems like it will drag on forever. You can safely look out your window, but all you will see is land. Nothing against country – it’s pretty and all – but it can’t hold your attention for four hours. The only thing to look forward to on this journey aside from its completion is the collection of service areas meets one on the way.

Previously, many of these rest stops meant eating at McDonald’s. You can count on the delicious, familiar taste of McDonald’s on your thruway ride as much as you can on a boring ride. However, that particular part of the journey is now a thing of the past.

From January 1st There are no McDonald’s along the New York State Thruway.

Why the New York State Thruway lost its McDonald’s

As part of a $450 million redevelopment project, all 27 rest stops on the Thruway will be remodeled or otherwise upgraded. according to a press release The New York State Thruway Authority’s new service areas will feature “updated restaurant concepts,” as well as “taste NY food and beverage products, outdoor seating, seasonal food trucks, playgrounds and pet walking areas,” among other things, according to TimesUniona newspaper covering the Albany area, new dining options will include Chick-fil-A, Shake Shack, Panda Express and Burger King.

Remarkably, most of these fast food options in upstate New York are pretty sparse, save for the upcoming rest stops. Panda Express has 15 New York locations, with all but one in the southern part of the state. Chick-fil-A has fewer than 50 locations nationwide, including those in the new federal states renovated service areas and one at Albany International Airport, which (much to the chagrin of some) is beyond safety and hence Per ticketed passengers only. shake hutthough it’s native to New York City, it’s just ubiquitous in the outskirts of the city; even after extend wild in recent years, it doesn’t have a large national presence, so it’s still a first for most New Yorkers.

Given that most of the restaurants that will be found in New York’s new rest stops are largely inaccessible outside of those rest stops, it appears that New York State is creating a novel experience within these rest stops. And really, novelty is the opposite of what I long for When I am on the way. Besides that the food is delicious, I go to McDonald’s often because I know it tastes the way I expect it to. an order McDonald’s during Traveling can be a bit security blanket.

New York’s changing relationship with road food

This shift on the thruway comes at a time when New Yorkers are still adjusting to their new realities and improved Entering New York City via Amtrak, the instead of drab Penn Station, is now housed in the new Moynihan Train Hall, the result of a $1.6 billion remodeling of an old post office. But zEven before the opening of Moynihan in 2021Penn station lost his McDonald’s.

Like the new Thruway stops, Moynihan seems to be aiming for novelty rather than convenience in its food offerings with a higher-order, more New York-rooted slant. restaurants inside the train station include New York City staples like Magnolia Bakery and an upcoming satellite position from Jacob’s Picklesan Upper West Side restaurant that serves SWestern-style buttermilk chicken.

It will be interesting to see how New York approaches in-transit dining over time—one that creates more“curated” Experience-will unfold. Without his once ubiquitous presence in transit areas across the state, McDonald’s relationship with New Yorkers and their everyday lives Eating habits seem guaranteed to changehowever light or subtle.

Of course, McDonald’s relationship with these travelers could develop anyway, given his current pilot of Locations the only offer order mobile pickup and delivery. While we may never be without the golden arches, how and where we interact with them it definitely seems to be Shift, for better or worse.

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