Now, this is a real find. I had no idea it existed. By pure chance, the other day I passed by the corner of 15th Avenue and 42nd Street the other day and saw an old Pharmacy sign. Big deal. I've seen a hundred like them. While old-fashioned pharmacy signs often hang around, evoking times gone by, pharmacy interiors are regularly updated and sterilized, leaving little taint of the past.
No so with this treasure, which the owner said has opened before 1900 and is the oldest pharmacy in Borough Park (the current owners have been there 40 years). Everything was as it must have been 60, 70 years ago. Wooden shelves lines the walls, climbing up to the ceiling. A rolling ladder hung on one set of shelving. The ceiling was tin, the floor was tile. A coin-operated scale stood near the door. A couple low shelving units punctuated the floor layout. There was one of those sloping wooden racks that hold greeting cards. The owner stood behind a long wooden counter near the back, little wire racks of gum and mints next to him, behind him another wall of shelves holding prescriptions and such.
Then I turned around and, lo and behold! Not one, but two wooden phone booths! Holy moly! The motherload. And in a pharmacy. I think that's a first for Lost City. Past wooden phone booth sightings have been in restaurants, bars and hotels only. And I had come just in time: the owner said the last remaining operating booth had just gone kaput; neither of them worked anymore and he was going to put them up for sale. A shame.
The shelves were loosely stocked; there was very little to buy. I wondered how the place stayed in business. (Copious local prescriptions?) If they must sell the booths, I hope they get a pretty penny for them, and that they sell them to someone who will restore and use them in another business.