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Bathrooms are a great equalizer at highway rest areas

Image for article titled Bathrooms — Not Food — Are Great Equalizers in a Highway Rest Area

Photo: AP (AP)

On December 21, the New York State Thruway Authority announced that McDonald’s at the nine rest areas along the Thruway will be closing on New Year’s Day, which is sad news for the McDonald’s fanatics among us (me), but, otherwise, news comes and goes, because because who cares. However, a few weeks later, a column at New York Times decide to care, ask the extremely important question: “Do we have to calm the Stopover?”

You see, bad news about McDonald’s as well as the Thruway Authority saying they are closing two other stops for construction to build on “updated restaurant concepts, food and beverage products.” of Taste NY, outdoor seating, seasonal food carts, playgrounds and pet-walking areas among other amenities,” sure, because again: who cares.

However, the news made Ginia Bellafante, NYT column, to ponder its meaning.

Thruway’s service areas were originally built in the mid-1950s and offer a balanced experience of cafeteria food for a much more equal world. Howard Johnson’s arrived in the 1980s. McDonald’s entered the frame a decade later, the last time the stops were remodeled. The current innovation will feature local farm stalls, food trucks and, among several other fast food options, Chick-fil-A’s polarizing selections, run by a state billionaire. executive red, who contributes to anti-LGBTQ causes, and Shake Shack, founded by a freelance billionaire restaurateur who famously serves up expensive food around Union Square.

Certainly, there are many reasons to consider it great progress to never be tempted by the golden domes on this stretch, reminders of the scourge of low-wage work, environmental destruction and devastation. community health. But on the antagonistic side, where we can find some social benefit, McDonald’s offers a business model without a market identity. You don’t have to pretend to be classy, ​​rich, polite or pious when you order a Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese. You don’t believe in a philosophy or a way of life; you are buying 740 calories of distraction from life.


Given the deep and enduring tensions between downtown New Yorkers and those living in the suburbs, for example, it’s clear that Utica residents will be delighted by the Manhattanization of the freeway, rather than just maintaining a vacuum. A shared function space that allows them to refuel, grab a sandwich and move on, dozens of potential Instagrammable moments would be cursed.

Finally, her column is pretty conventional, it’s these new changes that sound bad and why we can’t stick with the old stuff, because the stuff is good, that’s what I always say about everything.

The problem is that this column doesn’t address the real purpose of highway rest stops, which exist primarily to provide room for a person to urinate or defecate, and that experience. were still egalitarian when they came to this country. These new Thruway stops will be the same, even with all the silly new treats. Chi – the second most important function of the resting place, and something far from there – will also be there.

I submit that we can save our outrage for when rest stops start offering nicer bathrooms for those who pay, and grosser ones for those who can’t, which is something I assume the New York State Thruway Authority currently has their best people studying. Until then, we’re all in the same room pissing into a hole, just like everyone else.


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