There is only one reason why you would know Sullivan County, New York…the most famous rock concert in history, Woodstock, happened there in 1969.
I have been spending a lot of time travelling to Sullivan County recently because I am learning how to become a radio personality on a tiny NPR radio station in Jeffersonville, New York. The station is WJFF FM and there is an app for it on apple and android phones. Also available on wjffradio.org
WJFF is hydroelectrically powered, by a tiny waterfall, and when you drive up the driveway, you have to avoid the chickens…really.
So you know I love this place.
I will be going live in a few weeks, and I will keep you all posted on that.
But that is not the real reason for this story.
This story is about very old gas stations. In your town, gas stations from the nineteen fifties are long gone. They may still be gas stations, but they look much different. They may have become a convenience store, or there may be empty space. This is universally true.
Except in Sullivan County.
Driving around this gorgeous, incredibly rural county takes you to roads that barely show up on my phone’s GPS. On these roads are beautiful, rolling farmlands, Hasidic youth camps, and abandoned gas stations.
Very, very old abandoned gas stations. From the fifties.
These stations are nearly paint free, with collapsed roofs and broken windows. Also in place are decrepit gas station signs, like the old Flying A signs from that time.
In Sullivan County, nothing is torn down, or updated, or replaced. And that is something Sullivan County folks have decided to abide by all over Bethel, Jeffersonville, White Sulphur Springs, and Claryville.
I am trying to figure out why I am fascinated by this….after another week of 3am bouts of deep thinking, I will probably figure it out, and rewrite this story.
Incredibly, the picture below is almost perfect, and I found it by accident. The only thing I would change is to replace the motorcycles with fiftyish cars. The picture captures the weird, haunting beauty that I see with my eyes, in a way that my words can never match.