Last Thursday on January 23rd at 10:30 AM, Walgreens opened its newly renovated store in Union Square. “Free coffee! Free coffee! Who wants free coffee?!?” shouted two men on the corner of 4th Ave and 14th St wielding “Grand Opening” signs. Although they were loud, pushy, and a bit annoying, anything free is worth my time. So, out of the goodness of my heart, I walked inside, totally unprepared for the magnificent experience that was to follow. Aisles of fresh food, wraps, fruit, sushi, Slurpee’s, and fro-yo. I was speechless. Employees melted into so many specks of meaningless swirling dust as I stood staring into the beauty of all the delicious commodities. Was it possible to be in love with a drugstore?
This Walgreens upgrade has prompted NYU Local to scrutinize the other drugstores near campus, specifically CVS, Duane Reade, and Walgreens. Do they even compare? Which have the highest prices, or the dirtiest shelves? We all have our opinions. But now, with extensive research and many purchases later, we’re setting the record straight to give YOU our picks for the best and worst drugstores in the area.
1.) Walgreens on the corner of 4th Ave. and 14th St.
Eric Silver -“You know they have a 24 health center there? What does sophomore year Eric do when his long distance gf has searing stomach pains at 11pm? He goes there.”
If you live in Palladium, Uhall, or Founders you are quite acquainted with this Walgreens and have anxiously awaited the new opening. Since it’s finally here, the store is by FAR the best at or below 14th Street. Great necessities include: a juice bar, fro-yo, hand-rolled sushi, an entire Valentine’s Day section, a soda and Slurpee machine, and tons of new products. In addition, the services have seemed to extend upstairs in the photo and beauty department where anyone is willing to help you. The two biggest pluses: it’s open 24 hours and offers cash back (unlike Duane Reade).
2.) Walgreens on the corner of Astor Place and Lafayette St.
Maegan Vazquez- “I like the Walgreens by Astor Place because I saw the lead singer of the Counting Crows there one time when I was getting shampoo.”
Sophie Kleeman – “I once bought a $1 ruler there with a credit card for a theme party. The cashier told me to ‘have fun tonight.’ “
Although not as fancy as the Union Square location, this Walgreens, known for the vertical, old-school light up sign outside, comes in at a close second. The food is pretty decent and there are oddly a lot of clothing options, such as scarves and hats if you’re in a pinch during a cold snap. If you’re looking for school supplies, go here. The downstairs row has plenty. Ultimately, there is a bit of a homey feeling to the place, complimented by very chill music. The kids’ toy section is large and there’s a mini humidifier turned on to demonstrate the product (it looks really cool). Most importantly, you have a good chance of seeing someone famous here, so have your camera phone out and ready to go! Who are we kidding? Your phone is always out and ready to do, you tech junkies.
3.) Duane Reade on the corner of Broadway and 8th St.
Paul Sondhi – “Open 24/7, always really cool people working the graveyard shift.”
Right by the NYU Bookstore, Tisch, and Staples, this Duane Reade is perfect for those of us who take the “Broadway walk” home. Its most notable features are the pharmacy section, the wide-range of processed foods, and huge Teddy bears you can buy for $39.99. Its not fabulous, but quiet and helpful if you’re on the run.
1.) CVS on University and 8th
Adam Cecil- “The CVS on eighth is my best and worst. I always leave feeling dirty. Also, I stole some photos from the self-printing booth once. The printer didn’t give me a receipt and I did self-checkout and just slipped the photos in my bag. I don’t feel bad about it.”
Peter Slattery – “I swear by this CVS. Benefits: weird DVD selection, tons of self-checkout, great proximity to campus especially if you live at Stein or Rubes.”
Most NYU kids have come to know this CVS well. Close to campus and inevitably convenient, there are mixed reviews about the store. Peter Slattery, for instance, believes in its odd integrity. However, as the writer of this article, I declare it as the WORST drugstore in the area. Don’t get me wrong, the CVS has its perks such as simple products and a friendly checkout lady, but the negatives outweigh the positives…by a lot. The disorganization is overwhelming. The floors and shelves are dirty and dusty. The self-checkout process is ridiculous and longer than necessary. The merchandise is more expensive than the Walgreens-brand stuff ($3 more for vitamins) and many products are missing. The only benefit: cash back.
2.) CVS on 23rd St. and 3rd Ave.
Gramercy residents may be familiar with this CVS. With only two stars on Yelp, reviewer named R.O. says it all, “The store itself is not well kept, it’s kind of a disaster zone…. The lines take FOREVER, too…I’m grateful for this local drugstore, but I usually end up walking 1 avenue to the Walgreens for more supplies and better service.”
3.) Duane Reade on 3rd Ave in between 9th and 10th St.
As we travel down 3rd Ave., the Duane Reade butthurt continues. This particular place is smaller than expected with a bit of a “grimy” ambiance. The merchandise is constantly being moved and the aisles are disorganized. Although the staff is generally friendly, Ryan G. gives is one star on Yelp because the “Old pharmacist is so slow. Disregards customers who have been waiting. I almost don’t trust his competence.” Yikes.
OTHER STORES TO CONSIDER:
Duane Reade on the corner of 3rd Ave. and 14th St.
Peter Slattery – “The Duane Reade under Coral is great for Coral residents but is super busy and they only ever have 1 or 2 people at the counter.”
Duane Reade at the corner of Spring St. and Lafayette St.
Olivia Loving- “I love the Duane Reade on the corner of Broome and Spring because it’s in such a fancy, old building. (Just researched it and apparently it was designed by Cass Gilbert, who also designed the Supreme Court building, among other nat’l beauties.) Also, it’s very convenient if you live in Broome St. dorm.”
Duane Reade on Union Square
Tom T. on Yelp gave it 2 stars- “overcrowded, overpriced and in the heart of a tourist-y area. But hey, it’s 24 hours.”
CVS on Bleecker St. in between Thompson and Sullivan
Harry H. on Yelp gave it 3 stars- “Tinier than the one on University Place, this location has 2 Yelp listings. The food is near the door on the lower level of this bi-level space (along with a young lady peddling flu shots), with the upstairs larger but far from large. Self-checkouts are available on both floors.”