15 April 2008

Show Time at the Rite Aid

If you find yourself feeling kind of grandish while shopping in the Rite Aid at 723 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, look up. It could be that enormous, two-ton mirrored ball hanging from the high vaulted ceiling that's giving you a spring in your step.

Duane Reades are famous for adapting any old space into a sprawling pharmacy. But Rite Aid beat them to this address, the former Meserole Theatre movie palace. A maze of twisting aisles lurk yards and yards below a soaring white dome. The outlines of what once was the proscenium can be spied on one side of the space, the closed off balcony (now storage space) on the other.

After the movie house closed down, the building lived on for a while as a roller rink. Thus, the mirrored ball. When I asked why the ball was not taken down when the pharmacy moved in (it was an Eckerd first, actually), I was told that if I could find a way to get the huge trinket down, I was welcome to it. I'm thinking about it. I then asked why they didn't get the damn thing spinning again, to give the store a more romantic atmosphere. Because I'm a smart-ass.


Miss Heather said...

First it was Genovese. Then it was Eckerd. Now it is Rite Aid. What will it be a year or two from now? That's anyone's guess.

I LOVE that disco ball, btw.

KSx said...

I have to hand it to you, Brooks -- I've been in that store tens of times, and never noticed the disco ball, or asked why the store had those strange ramps.

I can't think of a good example now, but my interest was usually drawn to the odd junk the Eckerd used to sell, maybe left over from the store it took over.

I finally swore off the store because its service can be Soviet (Post Office like) when it's busy, even when the too few cashiers are working like crazy.

BTW, I never noticed the furrier, but have seen Greenpointers in furs...

Anonymous said...

I noticed the mirror ball at the Genovese when I lived in Williamsburg in the 1980s. Later when I lived in Greenpoint I pointed it out to my boyfriend, who then knew exactly what I meant when I said I had to go to the "disco pharmacy."

Anonymous said...

Rite Aid converted a lot of interesting spaces along the Chestnut Street Transitway in Philadelphia. The project, turning fifteen blocks of the main shopping street downtown into a pedestrian mall/busway, made shops inaccessible for so long that most went out of business. Rite Aids are now in old bank buildings and one fascinating emporium just off Broad Street with stained-glass windows and a mezzanine. Previously it was a very nice, very classy Barnes & Noble that gave me an inflated opinion of what their usual store was like.

draveed said...

I have a vague memory of this place as a child, before it was a Genovese, spending some time as a discount junk store; sort of like Odd Job but independent or at least not a chain I ever heard of.

Rego-Forester said...

To Lost City:

I would appreciate your help. I came across your posting of the Rite Aid that was formerly the Meserole Theatre in Greenpoint. Do you have any other photos of this property? The reason I am in desperate need is because I am hoping to use that conversion as a case study to help save the interior of the Ridgewood Theatre. Although the Ridgewood Theatre's facade was landmarked (which we succeeded in), the landmark status does not apply to the interior, which has rare Adamesque features dating to 1916, and designed by America's foremost theater architect, Thomas W Lamb. These features were uncovered recently after multiplexing was removed. A treasure was unveiled, but should not be demolished by the new theater owner, who is a franchisee of Associated Supermarket. I hope my colleagues and I can convince him before it's too late. Please email me at unlockthevault@hotmail.com Sending any additional photos of Rite Aid would be very helpful. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you!

- Michael Perlman
Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance, Queens VP
Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, Chair

Lindsey said...

I have been searching for this location ever since I saw the disco ball years and years ago when it was Eckerds! I love that you noticed it and took a picture-brings back the confusing memory of discovering it and wondering what had become of the club that was once there.