The gilded gas chandeliers of a Village pharmacy

Bigelowstorefront2014Just how old is Bigelow Pharmacy in the West Village?

Well, the nation’s oldest apothecary got its start on Sixth Avenue in 1838.

Back then, West Eighth Street was still called Clinton Place, the Erie Canal was just 13 years old, city limits didn’t stretch much past Union Square, and Martin Van Buren occupied the White House.


Bigelow’s current building dates to 1902. A visit there is like a trip back in time: wood shelves, scrolling library-like ladders, and old-school chemists’ bottles on display in the top cabinets.


The chandeliers, however, might be the best relic. These gilded gothic-style beauties were originally powered by gas.

BigelowssodafountainReportedly the gas jets still work—or at least they did when they were turned on during the city-wide blackouts of 1965 and 1977.

Now if only they kept the soda fountain, a hangout for Villagers (and supposedly the cast of Saturday Night Live in the 1970s) for decades until the 1980s. [Bottom photo: from Bigelow Pharmacy via Crain’s New York]

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2 Responses to “The gilded gas chandeliers of a Village pharmacy”

  1. JJ Minihan Says:

    It’s so incredibly beautiful
    I will have to go visit

  2. marilyn fish Says:

    I remember the old lunch counter/soda fountain. I had breakfast there every morning when I lived in the village. The three countermen were cry long time employees. They knew everyone, were always in a great mood. It was a wonderful place to start the day as if with family.

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