Though I live in Little Neck and my needs are seen to by Little Neck Drugs on Northern Boulevard, I thought I’d note Harpell Chemists on 150th Street and 14th Avenue in Whitestone. For one thing, it’s one of Whitestone’s more stalwart businesses, having occupied the ground floor on the corner Tudor building since it was founded in 1906…
Here’s how it looked in 1940 in this Municipal Archives photo. Wouldn’t you know it, the “Harpell” name on the neon sign can’t me made out from this angle.
The “chemist” (Harpell’s uses the British “chemists” for “drugstore”) is no longer owned by the Harpell family. It’s successful, as there are now two branches in Ditmars (31st Street) and Bayside (Francis Lewis Boulevard and 26th Avenue).
I’m fascinated with Harpell’s illuminated sign. It’s in one of my favorite fonts, Caledonia, which is generally used in books and not for signage; it was first drawn in 1938 (by prolific type designer and artist William Addison Dwiggins) and was so named, for the Latin name of Scotland, because it was based on a series of fonts in the 19th Century called Scotch [sic] Roman as they were developed in an Edinburgh foundry.