NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A longtime pharmacy in New York City is set to close, but not without a fight.
Less than a block from Constance Stellas’ Hell’s Kitchen home is a pharmacy she relies on.READ MORE: David Banks To Be Named New York City Schools Chancellor
The Duane Reade/Walgreens on Ninth Avenue near West 44th Street started as an independent drug store dating back to the mid-1980s. Now, it’s closing.
“It’s inhumane for the residents of the neighborhood,” Stellas told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
Executives at Walgreens confirm the closing, saying customers can shop at a soon-to-open, much larger location on Eighth Avenue at West 44th.
Some say extra steps and unfamiliar staff are bitter pills to swallow.
“To walk there, it’s a little bit precarious,” Stellas said.
“It’s going to be very inconvenient,” Hell’s Kitchen resident Rick Bogart said.
The fight to keep the store open has the support of State Sen. Brad Hoylman and other politicians, who signed a letter to the President of Walgreens, John Standley, and have not heard back.READ MORE: 'Why Should We Live Like This?': NYCHA Residents On Staten Island Say Gas Service Has Been Out For Nearly A Year
“This is a hometown pharmacy for 3,500 residents who live at Manhattan Plaza. We don’t want to see it moved,” Hoylman said.
“This is one of the closest ones,” resident Fumika Matsumoto said. “It pops up when I was searching for the COVID vaccination.”
Time is running out. The store is scheduled to close Nov. 18, and some residents, community activists and elected officials say if the store cannot be saved, at least delay the closing.
“We need to alert our neighbors who depend on life-saving drugs from this pharmacy,” Hoylman said.
“We want that drug store to stay right where it is with the same staff,” Hell’s Kitchen District Leader Marisa Redanty said.
CBS2 did not hear back from Walgreens about what’s motivating the move, but some staffers said off-camera issues with rent are part of it.
Yolanda Mendez is a clinical pharmacist at a different independent pharmacy in Washington Heights and says anytime a pharmacy closes, it destroys important relationships.
“So it’s not just providing their medications, it’s sometimes providing the support, emotional support that they can’t get,” Mendez said.MORE NEWS: New Staten Island Ferry Expected To Arrive In New York City This Month
With more pharmacies closing, a community is spreading the word that bigger is not better and longtime trusted pharmacists are the best medicine.