EX-LAX, Atlantic Avenue

by Kevin Walsh

When I was a kid my parents and I would go on lengthy trips of exploration on local buses, and one of the routes was the B-63 which ran down 5th and Atlantic Avenues to the waterfront. On the return trip I remember being amused by the factory building near Nevins that was emblazoned “Ex Lax” over its front entrance, since even as a kid I knew that was the name of the “chocolate laxative” which was then advertised heavily on TV.

It was indeed an Ex-Lax factory, but it closed sometime in the 1960s. It was an early residential conversion in 1979, when I was still attending St. Francis College a couple of blocks away. A few years ago I went on an Open House New York tour through one of the ultramodern residences that have been carved out of the old poop loosening factory, which once kept a “staff” of monkeys on hand for product testing. The monkeys’ old quarters, in which they were kept in cages, has been incorporated into one of the apartments.

4/12/14

10 comments

joe bernstein April 12, 2014 - 10:02 am

The color scheme of the factory was two tones of brown,a very apropos one,I’d say 🙂

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bruce April 14, 2014 - 1:04 pm

They must have painted the building. When I lived in the area back in the early ’70s, I recall that it was BM brown.

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Bill Tweeddale April 16, 2014 - 8:32 pm

Exactly how I remember it from the late ’60s!

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Dave April 15, 2014 - 7:22 pm

Many years ago I worked as a central station for the burglar alarm company that protectec Ex-Lax. They had a laboratory on site where they tested the product on monkeys. Every once in a while a monkey would get ou of its cage and let the other monkeys out. As they ran around the building the tripped the alarm system causing us to dispatch the police and an armed guard with keys. On one particular night a new guard responded to the alarm, flashlight and gun in hand. As he searched the premises two of the monkeys jumped on him. Need less to say, the guard did not need Ex Lax that night. He did it au natural!!!!

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Dave April 15, 2014 - 7:26 pm

Forgive the mispells. I was a central station operator

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James Auran, MD April 16, 2014 - 5:55 pm

EarlWhen made in this building, Ex Lax contained phenylphthaleine, which unfortunately was suspected of being carcinogenic and was eventually banned.

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James Auran, MD April 16, 2014 - 5:55 pm

When made in this building, Ex Lax contained phenylphthaleine, which unfortunately was suspected of being carcinogenic and was eventually banned.

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John June 30, 2015 - 8:32 pm

My father was the vice president of Ex-Lax in the 60’s & 70’s. Ex-Lax was bought up by General Cigar in the late 70’s. My father retired in 1980. I remember going to that building in the 60’s, they had a nice pool hall there. Till this day, I can still remember the smell of that building.

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Gale October 15, 2017 - 9:04 pm

My grandmother rose worked for ex lax they nick named her chippie. I inherited a watch they gave hef and china and gold stenware when she got married. They all loved her.

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Thadine December 17, 2018 - 1:43 pm

I just took notice of the building this afternoon while riding the B63 bus enroute to the Long Island railroad. As a kid growing up in the 1960’s ,the name flashbacked that rectangle blue box with the brown chocolate candy-like bowel enforcers. It was given to us as children if we became constipated. What a forceful elimination EL did without us being direct volunteers in that process.

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