While furtively darting around Midtown with a camera recently, trying to not be noticed (the local authorities think of single, middle-aged men with cameras the way gardeners regard slugs) I happened to see this bronze message board outside Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd near Park Avenue. It’s elaborately ornamented, in the Beaux Arts tradition that was still in vogue when GCT was built in 1913, made of bronze or brass. Likely, it’s been here since the place opened.

Unusually, though, at the top is the vessel-with-the-pestle symbol commonly seen on older drugstore signage (And I also remember when drugstores would display vials or beakers of colored liquid in the front window.) This, it would seem to me, is indicative of a former druggist in the immediate vicinity, and not only that, it was thought that the business was secure enough to be there for a long, long time, and any sign on the property would be fashioned with drugstore imagery.

Of course the drugstore eventually left, and the frame was orphaned. Sic transit gloria.

Anyone know what drugstore it might have been?


The drugstore is shown on this early GCT floor plan; apparently it was a Liggett’s (h/t Comments).


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  1. Anthony S. says:

    Here’s a link to an interesting story on the history of the vessels pharmacists would display in their windows.


  2. Don Rogerson says:

    It was probably in reference to the Liggett Drug Store, which stood on the corner at 42nd Street and was an original tenant. Here’s a glowing description of the 8500-sq-ft store that boasted three soda fountains.

    In the novel The Beautiful and the Damned, Gloria and Anthony go into this store to buy some gumdrops and Gloria ends up buying some perfume.

  3. Gary Dunaier says:

    Rexall? (Just a guess.)

  4. Gary says:

    It was a Rexall drugstore. I remember shopping there when I was a kid in the 70’s.

  5. Jeff B. says:

    I remember it as a Rexall in the 70’s and early 80’s.

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