New York City Feelings

I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline

Mar 11, 2009

Lights on Broadway

vía New York Daily Photo de Brian Dubé

[LightsOnBroadway700.jpg]The city daily photo concept was started by journalist Eric Tenin of Paris in March, 2005 with Paris Daily Photo. The original idea was to show a daily slice of life in Paris. The idea spread to now include hundreds of cities worldwide. The idea is a noble one, however, most readers do not want to be privy all the mundane chores of everyday living, so Eric's site, like most of the others, show a side of daily life of interest to outsiders which includes a spectrum of the more known to lesser known.
There are many things which are both unique and so commonplace in many locales that they are part of the fabric of that city or town, but perhaps not blogworthy or worthy of inclusion in a travel guide. The establishments every resident knows and uses. One of those places in New York City is Duane Reade, a local chain of stores that dominate the pharmacy business and is part of the love-hate relationship many New Yorkers have with this city.
At one time, there were only TWO all night drug stores in Manhattan. A late night pharmacy was a huge deal. Now Duane Reade is ubiquitous and New Yorkers are spoiled - we all just assume that a Duane Reade is a few steps away. And they are, with over 240 locations throughout the five boroughs and nearby suburbs, 59 of which are open 24 hours (5 with a 24-hour pharmacy). Two locations offer walk-in medical care.
However, although on paper these places seem like a godsend, many tend to fall down in service and overall management. Like many discount operations in New York City, getting good help at low wages who will take their jobs seriously is difficult. The experience in this chain tends to be uneven. There is even a blog ihateduanereade.
But the situation is really quite similar to the arrival of big box behemoths like Home Depot or Kmart. While many bemoan their presence, complaining of service and quality of product, many secretly appreciate the pricing, selection and hours.
One of the big factors in this equation is the walking nature of the city. In the suburbs, most customer patronage of retail stores is not so much a function of proximity to one's home or neighborhood - bad service or better pricing and customers will just drive elsewhere.
But in NYC, neighborhood delis and drugstores have virtual captive audiences - most residents will shop at the most convenient location to their home or office. Add competitive pricing and late hours to the mix and you can see why service is overlooked.
The quality of the Duane Reade establishments themselves vary quite a bit - some are newer and more spacious than others. I was surprised with this one in the Times Square area, appropriately (but atypically) with neon-framed windows. Quite visible to the person in need, but invisible to the visitor awed by the other lights on Broadway ...

NOTE ABOUT THE NAME: Duane Reade was named after their first location in 1960 on Broadway between Duane and Reade streets.

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