The most beautiful Duane Reade in New York City

Duanereade30springstreet2A Duane Reade store originally designed by famed architect Cass Gilbert?

It’s hard to believe. Gilbert is the genius who gave New York the Woolworth Building, the New York Life Tower, and other spectacular structures from the dawn of the skyscraper age.

But it exists, at the corner of Spring and Lafayette Streets, inside a repurposed East River Savings Bank building Gilbert designed in 1927.

The interior space is stunning, especially if you’re used to Duane Reade’s usual bad lighting and low ceilings.


Here are detailed ceilings, vintage chandeliers, a lovely old clock above the door, and a brass staircase to the lower level.


References to the building’s past as a financial institution are mostly wiped away, with the exception of the stenciling on the exterior, between the front door and the subway entrance on Spring Street.


The lettering is faint, but you can just make out “cassette di sicurezza.”


Google translate tells me this means “safety deposit boxes” in Italian—the first language of many neighborhood residents, as Spring and Lafayette Streets would have been squarely in Little Italy territory.

Check out some other old city buildings whose original tenants departed—and now are occupied by very different businesses.

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6 Responses to “The most beautiful Duane Reade in New York City”

  1. Pontifikate Says:

    I used to bank there. What a loss for the neighborhood.

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Now you can buy razors and shampoo there….

  3. jason Says:

    This place is great when you slice open your foot on broken beer bottles in a bar at 3 am and need bandaides.

  4. Richard Says:

    As graphic designed Todd Klein has blogged, this building was also the original home of the publisher All-American Comics — birthplace of such heroes as Green Lantern, the Flash, Hawkman, and most famously Wonder Woman — and later the offices of EC Comics, which in turn gave rise to Mad Magazine.

    This is a hugely important location in American popular culture, as well as being architecturally significant.

    (P.S.: apologies if this reply appears more than once, but the commenting system seems to have swallowed my original comment.)

  5. Gimelgort Says:

    They’re ALL beautiful from behind the pharmacy counter ;>)

  6. What remains of Jefferson Market’s police court | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] York is rich with creatively repurposed buildings. A once-stately Spring Street bank is now a Duane Reade. The shelves of a elegant Fifth Avenue bookstore now carry lipstick and nail polish sold by a […]

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