By Nicole Breskin
GREENWICH VILLAGE — After 77 years on the same corner, Ansonia Pharmacy has relocated — just two doors up.
The new storefront at 446 Sixth Ave. still offers customers the same service and the same staff as they did at 442 Sixth Ave., the only thing that got lost in the shuffle is the rotating art gallery that used to adorn the front window display.
“I’m going to miss the interaction with the artists and community members,” said Paul Oratofsky, who curated the exhibition for the past six years. “I liked the idea that this wasn’t about commercial art; we weren’t trying to sell anything. It was just fine art and the community was very grateful.”
Artists who had participated in the exhibitions included local painters Sharon Florin and Joyce Pommer, along with sculptor Keith Long. The family-owned business hosted an average of 11 art displays a year for the past 14 years.
“It gave artists a chance and the work was always nice to look at,” said longtime Village resident and artist Mark O’Grady, who grew accustomed to glancing at the art on his way to work. “I am going to miss them.”
Pharmacy owners said the move was prompted by rising rents.
“Our lease was up, the property changed hands and our landlord wanted to raise the rent,” pharmacist Upendra Solanki, who has run the family-owned business for 15 years, said.
“But we wanted to stay in the neighborhood. People walk in, we know who they are, and they know us. It’s more like a family.”
The new space, which formerly housed a coffee shop, is smaller than the former digs. But Solanki believes it’s the perfect location because it will suit loyal patrons who prefer the intimacy of a small independent business over a Duane Reade or CVS.
Solanski said despite his love for art, particularly abstract art, it is unlikely he’ll be able to bring the art back in the future. For now, he is happy to be continuing his business.
“I don’t know if we’ll go on forever, but I hope to be here for a long while,” he said.