After tripping over construction workers for weeks, Duane Reade is practically done with renovations. Bwog sent our Decoration Diva Angel Jiang to check it out, in honor of the five-aisled edifice to self-improvement.
The first thing to note about Duane Reade’s renovation is that the entrance, formerly in correspondence to the stairs to the lower level, is now located on the north side. Thankfully, the demarcated “in” and “out” signs legibly indicated this on the uniform glass facade. It is unclear if the newly reconfigured glass entry doors are intended to alleviate a bottleneck issue, or to postpone your descent to the actual pharmacy by redirecting traffic to the aisles of temptation. I admit to clogging up traffic in the vestibule, but would attribute that to Duane Reade’s choice to place their Nice! garbage bags, designer paper bowls, and paper towels emblazoned with suns and stuffed animals in their entry hall.
In Duane Reade’s pursuit to make life as odor-free as possible, deodorant is prioritized in the first and second aisles, as are the “fragrances” safe-guarded in a locked and sealed capsule adjacent to a selection of disinfecting wipes. I would have lingered to wonder if a larger lobby contributes to more time spent browsing neon colored makeup and Easter candy, but am quickly distracted by a fridge of chobani and nesquik. I try to remember what kind of necessities I used to buy at Duane Reade but all attention is constantly diverted.
Eventually, I find shampoo, but then turn the corner to arrive at the grocery section organized by entree, breakfast, dessert, beverage, and then underwear—a commentary on primal necessity?—and notice that the number of ingredients on Duane Reade’s Delish brand packages probably exceeds the thread count of the pantyhose.
Ambulation proceeds smoothly—there was so much space in the lobby that I could comfortable meander despite being encumbered by a large tote bag and shopping basket. The Duane Reade shoppers, perhaps bewitched the fluorescent lighting or the equally oppressive architecture of crowd-control line dividers, exhibit their best behavior and filter in and out of the expanded aisles and neatly queue to check out.
The lower level hasn’t changed much, except that in order to address the scourges of spring allergies and young children, DuaneReade has placed toy cars and inhalers as the first visible items. I notice that the elevator and stairs haven’t changed…since the 70s? My tote bag starts knocking down rows of diapers after being accustomed to a comfortable radius of accessible space upstairs, and I make my way back upstairs. Contemporary for a drug store often translates as questionable color schemes plus a DVD selection, but after my ascent back up to ground, I realize I can probably deal with pepto-pink fonts in exchange for lofted ceilings and a glass facade.