The Cutest Little Pharmacy In All Of Manhattan


When I think pharmacy (or rather, American pharmacy), I think discounted Easter candy, those weird heart rate machines that I used to think were video games, and waiting in long lines waiting to feel less sick. Now, this might be because I don't have much in terms of a health or well-being philosophy. I force myself to eat a salad from Sweetgreen once a month, and I got Juice Press yesterday because someone else got it. That's the extent of it.

I’m trying to change my tune though. Glossier HQ is downtown, right between Chinatown, Soho and the Lower East Side. The mash of neighborhoods leads me to take long walks for my lunch break (back to that health thing! Walking is my workout routine). There's a lot to discover: Places like Erin McKenna’s Bakery (health! They make a bunch of stuff with agave nectar as sweetener) and the ‘art-you-can-afford’ store Coming Soon and Dimes Deli. Then, on Ludlow and Hester, there’s a bright orange storefront called Stanley’s Pharmacy. It sort of looks like it belongs in Disneyland. From the outside, you can see a juice/smoothie menu and a wall of pills. How can you not be intrigued?

When you walk in, you’re greeted by a man in a white lab coat—that’s Stanley. He’s a very legitimate pharmacist, and you can go to him and get anything you’d typically get at the sad Duane Reade or Walgreens you usually use. BUT he’ll also ask you how you’re feeling, and you can talk his ear off about all your health problems, as real or imagined as they might be, and he’ll give you something to help. That stuff might be a fruit smoothie with turmeric, it might be iced ginger tea with algae, or maybe just some supplements (we know you love them). I asked Stanley if they had ‘beauty things’ and he said of course; they’ve got ingestible collagen, hyaluronic acid pills, biotin, whatever you’re looking for.

Really what I wanted was a little false nostalgia. I didn’t grow up in the '50s, but I obviously did see Pleasantville, and I wanted to experience an old school neighborhood pharmacy. Sadly you’ll still have to go to Duane Reade for discounted Easter candy and overpriced Magnum Bars, but Stanley’s does carry Rahua, so there’s that.

—Tom Newton

Photographed by the author.

ITG is going places: Read more of the Postcard from places near (the now-defunct Korean American bathhouse in Queens) and far (the essential Turkish yoga cruise).