cash register2

By Carol Tannenhauser

There is a drugstore on Columbus Avenue that is so small, it’s a wonder it survives, what with rents so high that even a nearby Starbucks recently bailed, and chains to the left of it, chains to the right of it, not to mention burgeoning direct-mail pharmacies. Perhaps, it’s an F.B.I. front. Or maybe there’s another explanation. We’d like to hear it – and the stories of other small businesses on the Upper West Side.

Do you have a local place that would break your heart if it closed? Send us the name and we will periodically profile one in our new series on independent, Mom-and-Pop (or some variation thereof), enduring, endearing, endangered Upper West Side businesses.

No restrictions – establishments can range from dry cleaners to dog washers, restaurants to flower shops, hardware stores to where you buy your lotto ticket – just no chains, please; we have nothing against them (as opposed to landlords who leave large swaths of commercial space unrented for unreasonable amounts of time, hoping to land one and the exorbitant rent it can afford to pay.) This series is about the local places and people that serve and distinguish us. (We will accept stores and restaurants with more than one location if they’re UWS-bred.) Please offer your suggestions in the comments or email westsiderag at

Cash register photo by Franck Blais.

COLUMNS | 68 comments | permalink
    1. Jess says:

      Joseph’s Pharmacy on 72nd. From the look of it the rents on that stretch of 72nd are pretty ok – not too many businesses being pushed out. But this place – in a sea of corporate pharmacies with clueless pharmacists and NO name/face recognition no matter how many prescriptions you fill – is so unique. The owners are involved, the staff helpful and they know your name. Feels small town in this huge city. I would be very sad if they went away.

      • Diego says:

        Amen to that. Joseph’s Pharmacy is simply a fantastic business.

      • Eileen says:

        I second the nomination! Joseph’s is reliable, well-stocked, and with a friendly atmosphere. They’ve never failed me!

        • Skinflint says:

          Joseph’s has good sales, too.

        • Bz says:

          Best pharmacy in the city!

          • Lois says:

            I have to challenge: I give you Park West Pharmacy on Columbus Avenue, between 82nd and 83rd. They always get it right, and never disappoint! With an old-fashioned, elegant ambiance and great window displays, they have the nicest, most professional staff who treat you like family. I fear for them!

      • lynn says:

        I went into Joseph’s for the first time this week to look for something I couldn’t find at DR and felt like I was being followed, then I realized that the employees were just there to assist me. I haven’t experienced that in a long time, lol. Will definitely be going back!

    2. geoff says:

      two that have been in place for decades:

      Supreme Hardware & Supply Co.
      65 W 73rd St, #1

      Elias’s Shoe Repair
      126 W 72nd St

      (one of Elia’s machines is from the early 1900s)

      • Bronx Boy says:

        I’ll second some of these, I’ve lived on the West side from 1975-1983, 1984-1988, 1990, and most recently since 1997, and I’m really unhappy about the loss of the mom-and-pops who were the backbone of our neighborhood.

        Supreme Hardware (they also fix stuff!) and Elias Shoe Repair.

        Stationery and Toy, it’s the kind of store that used to be in every neighborhood and now you can’t really find anymore. Has everything from kid’s games to printer cartridges.

        Mondel’s — not only have they been around forever, their chocolates are really good.

        Crown Machine — hardly anybody wants to fix things anymore. Take your stuff there, keep landfill free of things that could work if only for a small fix or new part. (Sell it on eBay or donate it to the Salvation Army if you don’t want it anymore)

        Barney Greengrass — not only a timeless deli/restaurant of its kind, but one of the few places left you can get real lox, the insanely salty, have to cut it with cream cheese and orange just kind of lox. Nova is for lightweights.

        Adding a few of my own:

        Old John’s Luncheonette — Old school, everything they do they do well, high waitstaff/table ratio. (148 West 67th)

        Heather Mac Clean cleaners: My friends who live elsewhere use their dry cleaning service; tailor does great work, has saved me thousands of dollars by repairing my old clothes.

        Star Light Chinese Laundry — one of the last old school Chinese laundries (it’s a style of laundry) on the UWS. Very good with cotton shirts and bulk laundry. (103 W 71)

        Long’s Bedding: Mattress makers to the stars, they sell all the littler brands that you never hear about anymore. (121 W 72)

        Cafe Luxembourg. Always reliable, open almost all day. (200 West 70th)

    3. Darwin says:

      Mani Market on 94th & Columbus. Amazing produce & wide variety of specialty foods – with great prices. And it’s a NEIGHBORHOOD place, the kind where everyone knows yours kids & your dogs.

    4. Che says:

      This been on my agenda for a long time (along with the campaign for new zoning laws for new building heights); it’s a major initiative of MBO Brewer’s and I’m happy to see it trickle down to the community level now. First, though, I remember when the 72nd Street Broadway to Columbus Ave block was clogged with store signage, neon signs and banners competing with one another for size, voltage and space. It was an upsetting spectacle that turned me away from that street and the businesses on it without reconciliation. The street itself suffered economic decline instead of affluence, and it was preservationists working with the legal community to enforce the Zoning Resolution for signage that brought the street back to prosperity. Marketing is possibly the hardest, trickiest most slippery of all small business topics. Gaudy, do-what-you-will ad devices can successfully give way to modesty and smart internet marketing and cellphone apps, coupons, etc. Perhaps we can avoid the reflex of laying blame for small shop decline on preservation.

    5. Eileen says:

      Stationery and Toy World!!! 125 West 72nd Street (between Amsterdam and Columbus). but better to explore personally! What would I do without them? I have NEVER experienced a store with more helpful, patient staff. Donna and her dad, Larry, have been here for ages and I hope they stay for decades more! If they don’t have it in stock, they will order it and call you when it arrives. Prices are competitive, but it’s the level of SERVICE that matters here. I have a large tutoring practice, and I send all my students here for supplies. There is no place like it in New York City!!! Live long and prosper!!

      • Jess says:

        YES. Love that store. I remember after Sandy they were struggling (they commute in from SI I think?) – so great to know they are still in business. Tho I cannot take my son there – he goes bananas for all the amazing toys.

      • lynn says:

        I may be going over my posting quota in this category, but I have to say that this is the store I’d miss the most if they closed or left the neighborhood. I noticed the huge Lego knight and went inside looking for gifts for children, and the staff was extremely attentive and suggested the most popular and age appropriate toys for everyone. I can’t think of another store that manages to carry such a variety of toys and office/school supplies and I’ll definitely be shopping here again. Anything that will keep me out of Staples and Toys R Us!

    6. Kindly Dr. Daved says:

      Mondel’s Chocolate (2913 Broadway) is a wonderful family-run asset to the community. Homemade chocolates are delivered by a friendly staff. It has a great range of sugar free candies as well. The tiny shop also features cunning stuffed animals.

    7. Siddhartha says:

      I would be heartbroken if we lost Murray’s.

    8. lynn says:

      Amaryllis Florist, 271 Amsterdam Ave (btwn 72-73). It’s a small shop with a nice selection, and good prices, and the owner has always been friendly and helpful. He does beautiful arrangements for all occasions and they also deliver. Unfortunately there’s a rental sign in the window, and according to ‘unnamed sources,’the landlord is trying to rent the store while the business is still on the premises. The owner is hanging in there, but he said that most people pick up flowers at the grocery store now and not everyone needs a delivery service. I hope it’s possible for the shop to relocate in this area.

    9. Mike says:

      Sofia Storage has been on the UWS since the 40’s and in their Amsterdam Avenue building since 1952. They are family run and their warehousemen are the best. They really offer a personalized service that is lacking at the big chains.

      • Mike says:

        They also transported the Mona Lisa for the Met and the King Tut exhibit around the entire country in the late 70’s.

        • Ann says:

          They also support small independent businesses in their commercial storefronts below their storage building. They are helping keep the neighborhood unique by supporting/leasing to little boutiques.

    10. Ruth says:

      Crown Machine Services, an sewing machine and vacuum cleaner store, on 108th and Broadway. One fo the last of its kind. I tremble every time I need to bring my sewing machine in for maintenance, wondering if it will still be there.

    11. Grace Goodman says:

      Beacon Hardware on Amsterdam between 77th and 78th streets – a David among Goliaths! Always courteous, almost always have the item I’m looing for and if not will recommend another possible place to get it. Family owned and in the same location forever.

      • Juan says:

        I agree 100%. Beacon realizes that it needs excellent service to compete with the big chains and they offer that. They are a neighborhood gem!

      • David Zelman says:

        Not only that, but they are really a good neighbor. I support this suggestion along with many others: Joseph’s, Amaryllis, Murry’s, all get my vote

    12. Bruce Bernstein says:

      Andrade Shoe Repair, 2623 Bway (north of 99th on West Side). it is amazing that this guy stays in business. I’m glad he’s there.

      Jewel Boutique, 2586 Bway (97-98). he always fixes my watch band. and he has great custom made jewelry, he will work with you on price.

      West Side Stationers, corner of 99th. I have been boycotting Staples for several years to support the Postal Workers Union “Stop Staples!” campaign. (Staples is trying to privatize the post office.) The owner of West Side Stationers — i think his name is Paul — will match the STaples price on anything. He is a nice man who owns several other stationary stores on the UWS and Morningside Heights.

      • Che says:

        Yes! They do great work,I go there a lot, have always felt glad about them but always that they’re endangered. Likewise for Global Copy three streets down at 2578 Broadway: always busy, always helpful, can do anything.

        There are a lot (let us be thankful) of tiny, quality newsagents/candy stores/convenience stores/groceries along Broadway and Amsterdam from 86th St (or farther south) to 110th Street and up that open early and close late if at all. They’re partly why our city is so alive, so vibrant, so unlike any other.

      • Meg D says:

        Agree with all your suggestions! Great list!

    13. Jane Rosamilia says:

      Best Pharmacy is IVAN’S on Columbus between 93rd and 94th. Ivan is just the BEST guy who is amazingly helpful and has the customer’s best interest at heart!
      Mani’s Market is also the BEST with great produce, a great deli with lots of interesting stuff (keeps a lot of seniors who don’t cook fed) and lots of other great products. Fingers crossed that Trader Joe’s coming won’t be the end of this wonderful place.

    14. Gary says:

      • Absolute Bagels—the service can be a little gruff and curt, but I’d be absolutely (see what I did there?) crushed if they weren’t there. Best bagels in the city.
      • Barney Greengrass—not exactly a best kept secret, but a family-owned institution and I love that they’re also a destination restuarant.
      • Belleclaire Cleaners (B’way & 92nd)—great drycleaners, lovely and friendly service.

    15. Dani says:

      Launch Math and Science Centers on 81st and Amsterdam!! A great place for kids from toddler to 8th grade to do a wide range of STEM activities and get math assistance or enrichment!!! Very unique and individualized approach!! Very different than franchises like Mathnasium and Kumon. My daughter went to pre-k camp there and her projects were so cool. Friends of mine have their daughter in an individualized program 2x a week during the school year and the kid loves it.

    16. Susan Levit says:

      Suba Pharmacy at 104th and Broadway. We thought we almost lost it when a CVS opened opposite Duane Reade, but the neighborhood banded together and encouraged everyone to bypass the big chains and support Mr. Suba.
      Also, Broadway Diner between 102nd and 101. It is a throwback to old coffee shops and the prices are way cheaper than other diners in the area.
      I second crown machine… they are just terrific.

    17. Wendy says:

      Advocating commercial rent control for small businesses. Otherwise, the only businesses that can afford the rising rents are the big chains… That you can see anywhere in the US. What makes Manhattan unique are the small, one of a kind businesses. We don’t want to lose more of these gems

    18. Isaac says:

      Zingone Brothers on Columbus and 83rd. I cant speak highly enough of these guys. If they ever close I’ll be devastated.

    19. Wijmlet says:

      Azuri Cafe  

      $$ · Israeli Restaurant
      Falafel & other Israeli eats are offered for low prices at this compact counter-service spot.
      Address: 465 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019
      Phone: (212) 262-2920

    20. Jay Stein says:

      Camp Canine on 73rd and Columbus.
      What an amazing loving place. This is place that was taken over by Tania Isenstein, a former Goldman Sachs lawyer, who left the rat race to spread the love. She took the business over from some guys who really let the place go. She renovated, cleaned and rebuilt. Part of he mission is to foster dogs and she hosts them until they find their “furever” home. That’s how I got my Tamale. She is professional and her staff is extremely well trained. Tania has become a staple of the Upper West Side as a partner is Central Park Conservancy and many other local charities.
      She has raised the bar for what it means to be a local establishment and has enhanced our entire neighborhood.

    21. Lori Schulweis says:

      Camp Canine on West 73rd. It is a doggy daycare business with a heart. I commute with my dog from the east side to the west just to take him there. In a world of flashier, fancier daycare choices for your pet, Camp Canine is business that is run like a true family. And not only do they take care of my dog as if he were their own, but they also foster many dogs from area shelters and give them a loving place to live until they find their own “furever” homes. The people and dogs of Camp Canine are truly our extended family and have become close friends –Oliver goes running in every day as if he hadn’t been there the day before – I don’t know what we would do if it weren’t there.

    22. Meg D says:

      Here is another vote for Jewel Boutique. I was going to nominate them and saw Bruce’s comment including them. They are such nice people, offer fair prices, do good work, and have gorgeous jewelry in the windows. Love that they have stuck it out on our quirky section of Broadway!

      My second nomination is for J&A Custom Tailor on West 83 Street. The place looks like a clock shop or something but when you go inside you will meet the loveliest tailor whose team does amazing work. Prices are very fair and their dedication to their craft comes from days gone by. Check them out!

    23. Louis Perry says:

      For years, I’ve DEPENDED on Joseph’s to be there…

    24. Donald Rundlett says:

      I would like to nominate Camp Canine / Feline. This place is the bomb for our 4 legged furry friends and the management team is strong, so the worry wart parent can feel confident that their pet is safe & sound. My pooch Mrs Peel would be down in the dumps if Camp Canine went away and so would I.

    25. Beverly Mills says:

      NY Camp Canine is the best dog day care and boarding on the UWS. For those of us who own dogs, you know when you four legged family member is REALLY loved and cared for. The entire staff at Camp Canine love their campers. They ensure their safety and they know when a vet visit is necessary. I go away knowing they are in excellent hands!! Can’t live without them!!!

    26. Carol says:

      Although not in the neighborhood for nearly as long as many of the shops mentioned already (all of which I heartily support!) I’d like to give out shout-out to Dot, the clothing store for girls on Amsterdam Avenue between 82nd and 83rd. Since its opening, I’ve been bringing my daughters there for everything from leggings to t-shirts to PJs to party dresses. Owner Pam Giffin has a great eye for what girls like, with lots and lots of choices. Her entire staff is incredibly helpful. It’s just such a cheerful and fun place to shop. We hope it’s around for a very long time!

    27. Helene says:

      Magpie 83rd to 84th st and Amsterdam.
      An amazing place to go for small gifts and fashion. The owner and staff are helpful and don’t mind when you just pop in tomorrow see what new treasures she’s found.

    28. dannyboy says:

      Sal & Carmines

    29. Helly says:

      Book Culture.

    30. Liz says:

      I agree Joseph’s Pharmacy is the best. Learned about it through a friend that always had her prescriptions filled there.

      These folks really go out of their way to help you in any way they can. Always available to answer questions. Really care about your health and well-being.

      • HelenD says:

        Was Camp Canine originally on 72nd?

        I also heard that Amaryllis might be closing. I shop there frequently and the rows of flowers they put out every day makes that block look so cheerful, and I would hate to see them leave.

        • Tania says:

          It wasn’t – you may be thinking of Canine Ranch and/or Spot.

          • HelenD says:

            Thanks, I’m not sure. There’s a shop called Dashing Diva in its place now. Just when I think I’m becoming familiar with the neighborhood something disappears and a new store pops up in its place, lol.

    31. Meredith Kurz says:

      Zingone Brothers, a small grocery store between 82nd and 83rd on the East Side on Columbus Avenue. They are a family run business and when I just moved into the neighborhood, they embraced me. You see them help the elderly shoppers, their neighbors sort of “hang out” to banter a bit, the prices are extremely reasonable, they have adopted the tree on the pedestrian island in front of their store and decorate it with the season and holidays, much to the delight of children. They are warm, wonderful family oriented store. I NEVER want them to leave. Here is their (5 star) Yelp review if you need pictures or further proof.

      • HelenD says:

        Thanks for the recommendation, I may just consider leaving my neighborhood to shop here. There’s none of this mom & pop personal service at Westside Market or Broadway Farms. It’s a battle to get assistance and the produce isn’t fresh, the prepared foods are horrible, and the managers couldn’t care less what’s going on.

    32. NYDIA LEAF says:


    33. Jennie says:

      Gartners Hardware
      Zen Medica
      West Side Pharmacy
      Stationary and Toy World

    34. Js says:

      Cheers to:
      Georgia and Aliou’s Bakery – Amsterdam and 90th
      Old Johns- 67th near Amsterdam
      Scaletta – 77th near Columbus
      Murray’s Sturgeon Shop
      Schatzie the butcher/Richie’s Burgers – Broadway near 101st
      Hungarian Pastry Shop – Amsterdam and 111
      Liberty House – Broadway and 112
      Down Quilt Shop-Amsterdam near 87th (used to be on Columbus)

    35. Vikki says:

      Supermud Pottery on Broadway at 106th. They’ve been part of the UWS for over 30 years, and I’ve been going there for ten – mostly because I love pottery, but some days, just for the conversation and because I love being there. I’ve made friends at Supermud and met so many wonderful, creative, interesting people. The teachers are superb – and, like the owner, Iva Smith – can go so far out of their way to be helpful and encouraging, it’s kind of amazing. There are classes for adults and kids, studio hours, private lessons, birthday parties – and a great gift gallery. You don’t find a neighborhood place with such a strong sense of community too often. it would be a huge, huge loss for me – and for a whole lot of people – if they every closed.

    36. Ruby says:

      Joseph’s on 72nd is outstanding…and they also deliver which is so important when ill and in need of medication. The people who work there, Sharif, and the retired Rikky, are wonderful.

    37. Dean says:

      Upper West Side Copy on 71st street.

      Amazing service, can’t compare to Kinko’s/FedEx outlets. And much better prices.

    38. Dawn Hewins-Kelly says:

      Super Mud is a community gem! Iva Smith it’s stalwart! She has made many pragmatic and brilliant moves over the years to keep this jewel of a pottery studio a vital and vibrant place to serve young and mature artists of The Upper Westside. We must continue to support Iva and Super Mud!

    39. Sue says:

      I like the 79th St. pharmacy.

      North side of 79 between Broadway and Amsterdam.

      Never a wait and they’re very helpful

      • Scotia says:

        I couldn’t agree more! 79th Street Pharmacy has been very helpful on more than one occasion. The head pharmacist/owner is always present, knowledgeable and friendly. I recommend this store to every chance I get.

    40. M says:

      Star Paws doggy daycare on 85th!

    41. Amanda Lombard says:

      I love Zingone’s Brothers and Barney Greengrass. We bring bagels from Barney’s everywhere we go. Also, the new book store on Columbus – Book Culture is excellent as well.

      Ellen’s Couture on Columbus between 81st and 82nd tailored my wedding dress and Ellen is amazing – great place to get a more advanced tailoring job done.

    42. Cindy Freed says:

      My favorite store – open a couple of years I think – is Jooneechees on Amsterdam between 82nd and 83rd. It’s a great place for unique home items – glasses, candles, serving plates, dishes – and great baby gifts. It also has really creative, funny cards. I buy almost all my gifts here, and also have a number of the items here in my home. The items change with the season and are really cute. The owner works there most days and she is very helpful in selecting what you want…or ordering what you need.

    43. Ardsley2 says:

      I would like to praise Pro Image Photo on Broadway at 93-94 Sts. The Manager, Bretton, is always helpful and knowledgeable.

    44. David Zelman says:

      In our neighborhood we are lucky, so far, to have a number of stores that are truly local and are good neighbors to boot.
      Joseph’s Pharmacy
      Beacon Paint
      Amaryllis Flower’s Which sadly is loosing their lease in the spring of 17.
      Murray’s, to name a small few
      Anna’s Optical