A Visit to the Wall Street Duane Reade

by Myles Tanzer

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.