Monday, January 24, 2011

Duane Reade is Your Friend

It’s not your imagination – there really are Duane Reade stores everywhere you look. If you live on the Upper West Side, get ready because another one is about to pop up near you soon – at 72nd Street and Broadway to be exact.

Why are there so many Duane Reade stores and why are the employees in each one so seemingly inept? Those are two questions every New Yorker asks, usually while standing on line at one of the stores. I don’t know why there are so many Duane Reade stores or why so many of them are concentrated into small areas but I still wonder, how can they all make a profit? Is everyone rushing around 24-hours a day buying medicine, mints and tabloids and if so why so much? I don't know the answers to any of these questions - I doubt anyone does. What I do know is that Duane Reade really, really wants to be your friend and DR always wins – always.

DR knows what you like and draws you in by mirroring your likes. "Hey Williamsburg, you like micro-brewed beer? Me too!" "Hey Soho, you look a-ma-zing! You're into health products and well-lit make-up counters, right? OMG, that’s so weird, I am too!" "Union Square, you’re non-stop! Just like me – I’m up 24/7."

Now that DR wants to make sure you on the Upper West Side are never more than a block and a half from your meds and snacks, it's prepared to indulge your neighborhood-centric preferences. A visit to the Duane Reade web site offers clues as to which new brand offerings the Upper West Side may soon be enjoying even closer to home: Dr. Delish gourmet and organic snacks; Prevail beauty aids; Apt 5 Goes Green paper products and a “Look Boutique” featuring upscale make-up and fragrances. Fresh groceries, like those offered at the Chelsea location, may even be in the plan - you'll know soon enough.

By the way, if you've yet to visit a new Duane Reade you might be surprised: the chain’s newest locations are make-over miracles designed to offer customers a modern, stream-lined shopping experience. Oh, and by customers I do mean you.

No matter how much you might resist, Duane Reade will draw you in. Oh yes.

For those of you who say, "No way," the old Duane Reade shoots you an only-in-New-York look and shouts, “Next customer in line!”

The new Duane Reade just smiles and says, “Line forms to the left.”


  1. Hi City Girl,

    I didn't know about these customized-for-gentrification Duane Reades, the odd occasion I go into one, it almost always gives me a sense of existential despair. I'm not even sure why. Maybe it's the packed-in rows, the cheap stationary.

    It's funny, they're always there, some grey insidious presence that I never really notice . . . even as they clog up every space they can, even in Manhattan.


  2. They have taken over already. Between 106th Street & 111th Street, Amsterdam to Bway, there are THREE Duane Reades. THREE! There is also a Rite-Aid on Bway (you wanna talk about existential despair, City of Strangers, try standing in line at Rite-Aid) and two or three independents on Amsterdam. How many drugs do New Yorkers need?! Of course, one of the indies also offers healing candles & the Duane Reade offers groceries, so maybe we don't need anything in NYC but drug stores. (Does anyone even call them that anymore?)

  3. The same thing is happening on the Upper Eastside. There are now four within walking distance of 86th Street and a Pier One Imports was closed down, only to be replaced with.....another Duane Reade. That means we will have 5 within a 5 to 10 minute walk of each other. What's going on?????


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