I got this photo at the Dawn of Forgotten NY in the winer of 1998 at Bedford Avenue and North 4th, when Williamsburg was still an industrial/ethnic Eastern European stronghold, not the funhouse it later became. It’s an ancient drugstore front, with the glass Ex-Lax sign on the side window still visible. This is now the Bedford Cheese Shop, selling “artisanal” dairy products. My budget demands I stay with Kraft Slices.

The building street signs remain though. This is the former corner of North Fourth and Fourth; Williamsburg north-south streets were originally numbered, increasing away from the river so that Kent Avenue was First Street, Wythe Second, Berry Third, Bedford Fourth, and so on. There was apparently no confusion whatever in the two numbering systems meeting in the grid.


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6 Responses to DOWNER’S PHARMACY, Williamsburg

  1. Jeff says:

    Funny how Brooklyn is changing as fast as Manhattan. As a funny aside I’ve been in that cheese shop, and they’re far more expensive than any in Manhattan. At least here, if you shop around, you can find the top-shelf curd for the same price as Kraft slices.

  2. Jim says:

    Can anybody tell me wtf “artisinal” really means, besides overpriced?

  3. steven says:

    If you think the cheese is expensive, check out their chocolate!!

  4. Danny S. says:

    “Downer’s Pharmacy” is a name that almost sounds like a bad joke (although I’m sure it didn’t always). Could there be an “Upper’s Pharmacy” somewhere as a counterpart?

  5. Bob Sklar says:

    Downer’s pharmacy? I’ll bet he was ready to knock out the next wiseguy who came in and asked for “downers”.


  6. Ian says:

    I will just add as an aside, but also an important detail: this storefront was a used book shop between it’s incarnations as a pharmacy and an…eh-hem, artisinal cheese shop.

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