10 January 2012

Smith Canteen Preserves Pharmacy Past

I walked into Smith Canteen, the new trendy coffee and lunch joint in Carroll Gardens, and thought: another new Brooklyn place trying to look like old Brooklyn. But no. The tile floor and tin ceiling and wooden shelving are old. They're all part of the old pharmacy that once occupied this space many years ago. I'd never noticed because for years this corner space was a gallery that had its walls covered up in black. There were no windows through which to notice the old architectural details.

UPDATE: This, according to the Smith Canteen site: "the location was a pharmacy as early as 1901. The article, from that year, talked about the pharmacist’s engagement to a countess from Italy, who was sailing to New York from Europe. Much of the original space remains–the tile floor, the woodwork, the mirrors and half of the ceiling. (The other half was falling down and had to be replaced.) Some of the original zinc-lined cabinetry remains as well. It was probably used to keep things cool in the pre-refrigeration days. Jane didn’t remove anything from the space, except some modern glass shelving and light fixtures, and designed the new components around the original ones. The space inspired other aspects of the project as well. The logo, by M+E, references the burgundy floor tiles, and the color of the counter references the blue-green tiles."

1 comment:

Kerry Diamond said...

Thank you for the item on Smith Canteen! We're really proud of preserving the space.