I Heart DR

It’s September and we’re back in the swing of things over here—the sand has been shaken from my favorite carry-all, while the pup has resumed lounging upon the cushiest spot in the apartment.

In other words, a most successful transition from summer into September, which is beyond compare in New York. But wait! What’s this I’ve come home to? A new and improved DuaneReade on 57th and 3rd? And another at Union Square? What, pray tell, is going on here?

By now, many of you are probably familiar with (read: sick of) my urban drugstore lament. So to say I was skeptical of DuaneReade’s snazzier stores that promised better lighting and larger footprints would be an understatement. Of the decade.

I decided to investigate these retail goings-on. You know, really get to the bottom of what could only be another disappointment to my drugstore dreams. The writing and editing, as you can see, was really flowing that day.

And this is what I found: drugstore nirvana. I kid you not. There’s not even a whisper of sarcasm to those words. As I skipped through the wide, inviting aisles of the splashy, new Union Square DR, past the expanded offerings of beverages, candies and toiletries (that weren’t locked up!), I came to the food section. Yes, you read that correctly, a food section. And I’m not talking about a tiny shelf that leans to one side and holds a meager sampling of stale, generic-brand pretzels.

I’m talking gourmet.

There were four shelves of Eli’s bread. A refrigeration section that was stocked with, among other delectables, Fage Greek yogurt, four flavors of Siggi’s Icelandic-style yogurt, Ronnybrook milk and cage-free vegetarian-fed eggs. I did a twirl by the freezer cases to discover Cacadian Farms organic vegetables—peas, broccoli, corn and winter squash. I broke out in a full Snoopy dance down other aisles containing Harney & Sons tea, R.W. Knudsen pure juices, 10 different kinds of Sarabeth’s preserves, and Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter. DuaneReade had transformed itself into a one-stop shop for delicious treats!

All it took was a summer. The summer of 2010 will go down in the history books as the season where the most reviled and entrenched chain store in this city’s landscape became one of the most welcome addition in decades. Take that D’Agostino!

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