A Beloved Local Pharmacist Has Closed Up Shop, and Is Going to Work for the Nearby Duane Reade


Peter Chin on the last day at Peter’s Pharmacy.

By Marjorie Cohen

A few days ago, my friend and neighbor Judy Gold (the comedian) called me from Florida where she was doing stand up. Judy usually makes me laugh when she calls but not this time. “I’ve got bad news for you,” she said. “Nobody died, it’s not that bad, but it’s bad: Peter is closing his store on Monday!”

The Peter she was talking about is Peter Chin, the owner of Peter’s Pharmacy on Amsterdam Avenue between 91st and 92nd Streets, who closed his doors on October 2 after 14 years at that location.

Stores close all the time on the Upper West Side but for all of us who live in the West 90’s, Peter’s Pharmacy was a very special place — exactly the kind of local business that every New Yorker wants, needs and wishes for. His store was a warm and welcoming place. No matter how busy he may have been, he would take time to talk to customers and was always, always willing to do whatever he could to help them–check with their insurance companies to smooth the way for coverage, make calls to doctors for refills, explain any possible drug interactions or how best to take the medication.

But Judy’s news is not all bad. Peter won’t be abandoning us. Although his store is closing, he is moving over to Duane Reade on 94th and Broadway and says that he is ready and willing to continue serving all of us just as he has for the past 14 years, just in a different setting. Peter sent us a note about the change.

“I spent the better part of 14 years to make Peter’s Pharmacy a successful operation. Sadly, I am forced to close for reasons I do not want to go into. It was my dream to open a business on the upper west side to be able to work with patients and customers. I wanted to create a warm, caring, and friendly environment so that people of all background, and age groups can come to visit, and ask questions concerning their health. Heck, I even talk to them about sports and politics. I am very fortunate and blessed to have met so many people that I now consider to be close friends and family. Many people have expressed shock and sadness that I am closing the store, and I really appreciate the outpouring of love that I have received from them. It was a tough 14 years, working long hours and not being able to take a single vacation. Looking back, I would not change a single thing, and would do the exact same thing given the chance.”

We’d rather that Peter would stay exactly where he has been for the past 14 years, but things change and as long as we’re not losing Peter–and he’s staying in the neighborhood–all is not lost. We all wish Peter the best in his new digs and look forward to working with him for many, many more years.

Photos by Marjorie Cohen.

Editor’s Note: Isn’t this exactly how ‘You’ve Got Mail’ ended?

NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 24 comments | permalink
    1. Mark Moore says:

      Sad but pharmacists get paid well. I wish Peter a great amount of paid leave and peace of mind.

    2. Lois says:

      I could not agree more. After my drug plan changed their “preferred” pharmacy list and it therefore cost more to use Peter’s Pharmacy, I still continued to go to him. He is a gem in every way, and he truly earned this customer’s loyalty.

      • Doug Garr says:

        Me, too. The personal service for so many years and no waits and delivery made it worthwhile not to have to deal with CVS and Duane Read. I’m beside myself. My wife and I hate the chains. She just called me saying she went by there and she can’t believe he’s closed.

    3. Carlos says:

      This is only the You’ve Got Mail ending if he starts dating the owner of Duane Reade after kissing her on the Riverside Park promenade!

      • West Sider says:

        No, doesn’t Meg Ryan go to work for Fox Books??

        • Christina says:

          No. Her character owned a small children’s bookstore. Tom Hanks character was the founder of the mega bookstore chain; Fox Bookstore

          • West Sider says:

            But I mean after she closed…

            • Carlos says:

              To make the parallel work, she owned a small store, closed it and went to work for the big store and fell in love with the owner of the big store. So Peter is closing his store and going to work for the big store and has to now fall in love with the owner.

    4. Ben David says:

      Best of luck to Peter!!
      He is a great pharmacist, and we were lucky to have his neighborhood store.

    5. Amy says:

      Peter is fabulous. I’ve always hated Duane Reade and found them to be uniformly horrible as a pharmacy- but if anyone can turn that around it’s Peter!

    6. John Haracopos says:

      Sad that Peter had to close but happy he’ll still be available to his loyal base of customers; he’s a wonderful guy and a great pharmacist! I’m sure he’ll do well at Duane Reade but the feeling of a small town pharmacy that he created will be forever lost!

    7. Sean says:

      It’s the end of an era.

    8. Susan Creatura says:

      So sad that Peter is closing his pharmacy. No one gives the kind of service Peter does. He always went the extra mile. Glad he’s staying in the neighborhood, but will sorely miss his store.

    9. RLS says:

      I hope Peter enjoys his first vacation in 14 years! And all you selfish people who don’t care a damn for his personal enjoyment/health can go you know where—-!

    10. Woody says:

      I don’t understand what makes a pharmacist great in modern times. It’s not the old days of mixing compounds to formulate medications.

      I order my medication online and get the same item as what comes out of a bottle at any local pharmacy for less money. The only real benefit of buying at a local pharmacy is quicker order fulfillment which is not important for maintenance medications.

      • dannyboy says:

        Human interaction.

        • Woody says:

          That’s why people have social lives. I don’t need interaction with someone who just puts pills in a container and slaps a label on it. There’s nothing special about a pharmacist in this day and age with standardized medications. Whether he’s nice or not doesn’t interest or affect me.

      • B.B. says:

        You don’t know, do you?

        Next to professional nurses, a pharmacist is the best line of defense to keep your physician or physicians from killing you.

        They can spot potential interactions with between medications. If symptoms are worsening and or not getting better, again a pharmacist can advise and or contact your physician.

      • Sam says:

        This is why businesses do not survive in the UWS because of people like you @(Woody). Some upper west siders are so cold, just like you and then they wonder why businesses do not last.

    11. Susan says:

      Walk two blocks north to the superb New Amsterdam Pharmacy.

    12. Say what says:

      Oh another small business closes. And,can someone please tell me what the heck the local business improvement does?

      • B.B. says:

        If you read between the lines don’t think this just another “greedy landlord” tale of woe and misery.

        Many medical professionals such as physicians and pharmacists are giving up individual practices (or stores) and going to work for hospitals, healthcare networks or large chain pharmacies.

        For those that don’t know running a private medical practice is very expensive. Ditto for an independent pharmacy. Things have become more so with the passage of ACA and various mandates such as requiring the move to electronic medical records.

        Going to work for a hospital/healthcare network or chain pharmacy means just that; you punch a clock so to speak, but the office, staffing, supplies, etc.. are all paid for by someone else. All the medical professional does is “show up” for work so to speak.

        Vacations and other PTO is included and it is the job of employer to arrange coverage.

        More importantly is the employer handles all the payment, insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, collections and so forth. Again the doctor or pharmacist is paid regardless of how and when the patient settles their bill.