A Visit to the Wall Street Duane Reade

At yesterday’s opening of Duane Reade’s new store at 40 Wall Street, three men in suits sat under a rolling stock ticker and had what seemed to be the first ever power lunch held in a drug store. I gravitated towards the someone who I thought was the manager of the store: I wanted to understand why this Duane Reade was so lush.

She sent me to talk to one of the power lunchers, Joe Magnacca, the—wait for it—President for Daily Living Products & Solutions at Walgreens Duane Reade Inc. With a little soulpatch and nice pinstripe suit, he is clearly the most baller Walgreens exec.

The old Duane Reade top-earner was in the World Trade Center and Duane Reade has been looking for a comparable new worthy space since that one… closed. He told me that the 22,000-square-foot space had been vacant for 15 years. The developers were able to keep most of the original flooring intact—something they were “proud of.”

And this Duane Reade employs a fascinating “money” font! All told, the opening went smoothly, although on day two, we are informed that an escalator broke down. (Scandal!)

40 Wall Street—completed in 1930—is the former Bank of Manhattan Trust building and is now known as a Trump Building. Trump is, not surprisingly, a huge cheerleader of his (his? You never know!) new tenant and he has good reason to be—this thing is totally in the Trump mindset. It’s not so much a larger Duane Reade as it is a mini-Walmart.

Besides having no fewer items than your average supermarket has, the Duane Reade features a juice bar and a walk-in health clinic.

The sushi counter is staffed by three real live apparently Japanese people™ and there was even an extra, older Real Japanese guy giving them orders and barking commands. The sushi sells for seven dollars a roll and seemed… fine.

But perhaps this is an actual eating destination? Elsewhere, a woman told everyone around her that this Duane Reade had the best egg salad she’s ever had in her life.

The incredibly expansive beauty section houses a small nail salon (manicures for $10!). There’s also a station to get your hair blown out. Magnacca called this a “blow bar.” That was uncomfortable.

A scruffy young dude was seen soliciting skin care advice from the cutest beauty section lady salesperson. His misery was blatant when she grabbed a cream off of the shelf and said “my boyfriend uses this one!” It’s still your same old Duane Reade in those ways, even if there’s touch-screen Coke machines that dispense drinks like Peach Sprite and Vanilla Coke. I mean, it’s just a store.