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Business of the Week: Prospect Gardens Pharmacy, 89 7th Avenue



If you're looking for history in Park Slope, you oftentimes need look no further than the corner pharmacy. The Prospect Gardens Pharmacy, on Seventh Avenue and Union Street, has been a neighborhood fixture for over 60 years, and is also a reminder that friendly, personalized service will never go out of fashion.

The drug store first opened its doors in the early 1940s, as part of the once dominant (but long gone) Whelan's chain. The only remaining relic of this time is the pharmacy's hanging "DRUGS/ PRESCRIPTIONS" sign, one of the neighborhood's oldest. If you look closely, you can just barely make out the word "Cosmetics" in the small box on top, apparently a later addition.
"This used to be very old-fashioned, with glass cases and a rolling wooden ladder that went all the way around, said owner Howard Baskind, who bought the pharmacy in 1980 and gave it the look that it still has today, which is historic in itself.
"When Howard took the reins he renovated cheaply, and has yet to update it," pharmacist Wayne Lippman, who's been there since 1985, cheekily added.
The interior is no-frills, and stocked floor-to-ceiling with your usual assortment of items as well as some harder-to-find merchandise like small appliances, housewares, and hula hoops. Wood paneling is still the dominant motif. The word "PRESCRIPTIONS," spanning the entire back wall, is in a classic 70s typeface echoed by the word "DRUGS" on the bright yellow sign outside, which dates from the same era (a dead giveaway is the lack of an area code in the phone number).
But the customers who have been shopping and getting prescriptions filled there for ages tend to be indifferent to the decor.
"Most of my customers, when they call I can identify them by their voice" said Lippman from behind the tall pharmacy counter. "I know their history and they know mine."
As for the big box drug stores like Duane Reade, Lippman thinks that they can learn a thing or two from his pharmacy.
"Why shop at a place that makes you wait three hours for a prescription? I don't understand it. 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."
"Customer service comes easy when you've been doing it the right way for so long," he added. 
Prospect Gardens Pharmacy, 89 7th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217. 718-638-4030.


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Reader Comments (10)

I'm planning to visit your fantastic city: I want to see Brooklyn too.
As far as Park Slope is concerned, what's the most interesting street?
7th Avenue or 5th Avenue?
Could you please suggest me an itinerary around Park Slope?
Many regards.

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRenato

Ok, but the inside REALLY could stand for a few updates now. It's kinda gross to be buying pharmaceuticals from a place which looks like a shanty on the inside.

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The pharmacist is a nice guy, the others who work there are some of the nastiest customer service people you'd encounter. Sorry to have to make you get off the phone to ring up my purchase. Not sure where he finds those employees, but most people I know have taken their business to Neergaard. Neergaard is an even older business, a mom and pop and they are super friendly and the place is SPOTLESS. aNd it's a block away and open till 8:30 when this place closes at 7.

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

@renato I'd recommend starting on Fifth and Flatbush, walking down to Prospect Ave, up to Seventh, then back to Flatbush. Plenty to do along the way.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHere's Park Slope

Thank you :-) Will I see the most beautiful buildings?
Anyway, is there a website that suggests touristic itineraries around Brooklyn?

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRenato

if you're going to Park Slope, you should most definitely not skip a walk along Prospect Park West and down 3rd Street. Start at Grand Army Plaza, see the Brooklyn Library and maybe Museum and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, walk along PPW to 3rd Street to 5th Avenue and then north along 5th for some great shopping, restaurants and bars.

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

@renato Walk down Prospect Park West to see the old mansions. not sure about the website

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHere's Park Slope

Not the same since pharmacist Wayne Lippman left for greener pastures. He was the best. Miss him terribly. Was the only reason worth going to this pharmacy. Now its just nasty looking with nasty help to boot. Especially the bored disinterested indian woman at the register.

December 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

My grandfather George Berman was the pharmacist here in the 60's. It was a beautiful store with a soda counter, glass cases and the floor to ceiling built-in wooden shelving with the rolling ladder the article mentions. That vintage sign hanging outside ("DRUGS/PRESCRIPTIONS") is burned into my childhood memories. In a terrible irony George's first son died from an allergic reaction to the newly-released sulfa-based antibiotic, shortly after his bar mitzvah, in 1940. George Berman was an amazing person who spent his long life giving fully and joyously to everyone he met. He also worked well into his 80's as a tax preparer after his retirement. He died in 1997 at 97 years old, outliving 2 of his 3 children.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Feiner Keller

Great story Robin, thank you for sharing it!!

February 19, 2014 | Registered CommenterHere's Park Slope

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