25 January 2008

On Needing Toothpaste on Lexington at 4 A.M.

A decade ago or so, there used to be an all-night drug store near the Waldorf=Astoria. It was at the back of the hotel, as you exited, across the street and to the north (on the very corner pictured above). It was called Kaufman Pharmacy.

It was one of those cool, old Nighthawks places, with a soda fountain and everything. It was open seven days a week and never closed. One year, when my sister visited and stayed at the Waldorf, I took her there at 11 PM, just to show her the king of thing New York life had to offer. Kaufman first opened in 1963. Marvin Soberman was the longtime pharmacist. Emergency rooms depended on him. So did the occasional celebrity bunking at the Waldorf. They used to have a sign that said no unescorted women would be served after a certain hour.

For many years, it was the only 24-hour pharmacy in Manhattan. Then Genovese came in and opened one, ruining their hegemony. The drug store closed sometime in the 90s. It was one of the first New York closures that made me really, truly sad.

Here's a lovely story the Times wrote about it in 1993.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great story