by Kevin Walsh

The Frost Pharamcy sign on 55th Avenue and Queens Boulevard is without a doubt one of my favorites in Queens. It’s likely a snapshot from the Fab Forties or Nifty Fifties.

Rendered in my favorite color combination, black and yellow, it’s purely hand-lettered, probably by a signmaker using just a triangle and ruler to measure. Look at the 2 “S”‘s in COSMETICS. Lettered by the same person but the two letters are very subtly different. Then as now, besides prescription drugs, pharmacies carried ‘baby needs’ and ‘box candy.’ And a comprehensive collection of cigarette brands! Of course the vessel with the pestle motif is ever-present.

The telephone exchange was ILlinois.


RICH July 13, 2012 - 9:48 am

I like the quaint wording on the sign “fresh box candy” and “everything for the sick room”

Ann July 13, 2012 - 9:50 am

The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true!

Eric July 13, 2012 - 12:36 pm

…. and what does the word ‘FILM’ mean? Was that something that was used in the Fab Forties or Nifty Fifties?

Etta July 13, 2012 - 4:37 pm

No actually it was used up into the 21st century. I just finished using up my 35mm film several months ago. FILM was used in cameras!! That is how one took pictures before digital. You put the roll of film into the camera. Took your pictures. Took the film out. Brought it to a pharmacy or a camera store and they developed it. You paid them and you received your printed pictures. Or if you were real good, you could developed the film in your own dark room in your home. Plus, since there was a limited amount of pictures allowed, 12, 24, or 36, it meant you took your time and composed and framed them. You just didn’t take them willy nilly. There are occupations that still use film cameras in this day and age. You might have been joshing, er teasing, when you wrote your comment, however to me it shows your lack of knowledge.

Kevin Walsh July 13, 2012 - 9:36 pm

It was a JOKE.

andy July 13, 2012 - 2:08 pm

There were a number of NYC phone exchanges in the old days that used names of US States. Beside ILlinois, Queens had VIrginia 6-7-8, and MIchigan 1. Manhattan had ORegon 7, WIsconsin 7, PEnnsylvania 6. And the 212 area code covered all five boroughs! No cell phones, faxes, or beepers in those simpler times.

Nicole July 15, 2012 - 4:13 pm

But can someone tell me what the exchange was on my old East New York # beginning with 485?

John P. Simonetti July 18, 2012 - 1:36 pm

Nicole: perhaps this will help….

Charlotte Roth August 22, 2012 - 10:55 pm

Does anyone remember the name of the ice cream parlor on Queens Blvd., that sold “The Shissel”?

Adrianne October 14, 2013 - 6:25 pm

Unbelieveable. This pharmacy does NOT know what they are doing. I had a prescription which said 3/4 pills, 2x a day for my dog that is having seizures for 2 weeks. The “doctor” said that it is 3 or 4 pills he has to take and he can only sell them by 500. He said if you do the math for 2 weeks, you need 100.

We went to another doctor, what an idiot. It is not 3 or 4, its 3/4 as in three fourths of a pill. Are you kidding me?! That’s my dog who have kidney’s or livers disease!! Are you joking? That is a significant mistake to make!


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