Prospect Gardens Pharmacy, the old-school pharmacy on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Union Street, will be closing today. The building was recently sold for the record price (for a mixed-use building the neighborhood) of $8.63 million, and "a big national retail tenant" is slated to take over the space, according to the Daily News.
The pharmacy originally opened in the 1940s as a branch of the now-defunct chain Whelan's, with all the bells and whistles you'd expect in an old-timey pharmacy: a soda counter, floor to ceiling built-in wooden shelving, glass cases, and a rolling wooden ladder. When Howard Baskind (who owned the building until its recent sale) purchased it in 1980 he gave it an unfortunate and inexpensive makeover, complete with wood paneling and the word "PRESCRIPTIONS" in huge letters (in an admittedly great 1970s typeface) across the back wall. It was dated but had its charms, and thankfully Baskind left the classic old DRUGS PRESCRIPTIONS sign (minus the neon, unfortunately) hanging out front.
The pharmacy remained popular largely due to the pharmacists themselves, who knew their customers by name (and could recognize their voices on the phone) and became neighborhood fixtures: George Berman was the primary pharmacist in the 1960s and Wayne Lippman was behind the counter from 1985 to 2012.
"Why shop at a place that makes you wait three hours for a prescription? I don't understand it," Lippman told me when I dropped by in 2011. "Here we fill it in five to ten minutes. That's how we maintain our clientele. A lot of the old timers aren't around anymore, but when younger folks come in they're always impressed by the fact that we actually care about them."
All outstanding prescriptions will be transferred to Rite-Aid.