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CVS Planned for High Rise On UWS' "Disappearing Block"

By Leslie Albrecht

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

UPPER WEST SIDE — A giant CVS pharmacy will be the retail tenant in a new building slated to rise on the site where a string of mom and pop stores are set to be demolished on Broadway and West 77th Street.

Spokesman Mike DeAngelis said CVS plans to open a store on Broadway between West 77th and 78th streets in 2013, after the new high rise is built. The store will be "more than 10,000 square feet," DeAngelis said.

The Department of Buildings recently approved demolition permits for the block, a spokeswoman said. Developers filed plans with the city to build a 20-story apartment high-rise on the block, but they haven't been approved yet.

Small businesses on the block have shuttered one after the other over of the past few months.

Coffee and sandwich shop Cosi closed earlier this week. A sign thanking loyal customers for their business hung Wednesday in the darkened window of the Manhattan Diner on the corner of West 77th Street, which closed earlier this month.

The block was also home to Laila Rowe women's boutique, World of Nuts candy shop, a nail salon, Curl Up and Dye hair salon, a watch repair service, a travel agency, a jewelry-making school, and S. J. Kim's Tae Kwon Do school.

At lunchtime Wednesday a group of students from the nearby Collegiate School crammed into New Pizza Town for a final slice. The pizza shop, on the corner of West 78th Street, was closing Wednesday night after 28 years in business, said co-owner Lorenzo Amato.

Collegiate seniors David Connor, Nick Martin and Sam Bresnick, all 18, said losing New Pizza Town was a blow.

"It's been a part of my childhood," said Bresnick. "I think it's a disaster that they're making a huge big building. We don't need another big building. Everything is becoming a chain."

Amato said New Pizza Town was hoping to lease space on Amsterdam Avenue and West 79th Street, in the storefront that Ottomanelli Brothers occupied until it closed in February.

"It's very sad. But what are you going to do?" Amato said. "After 28 years, there's a lot of customers that we know. They grew up with us."

Amato was skeptical about plans to bring a CVS pharmacy in an area with two nearby Duane Reade pharmacies.

"They should open a hospital here, with all this medicine," Amato joked.