UPPER EAST SIDE — Eyewear company Warby Parker is bringing its hip frames to a Lexington Avenue storefront that formerly housed New York's first licensed pharmacy.
The national eyeglass retailer soft-opened Wednesday at the corner of East 82nd Street, where Lascoff Drugs closed after nearly a century in the space.
Lascoff, which shuttered in July 2012, was the first licensed pharmacy in the state and closed when its last owner retired. Residents were very attached to the pharmacy with its apothecary jars and old-world feel.
The space was known and admired for its large, arched windows, cathedral ceilings, wrap-around mezzanine and hanging blade sign. It has sat empty since July 2012 while owner Samy Mahfar sought the right tenant for the space, he said in a statement.
“Over the course of our leasing efforts, we received numerous offers from national chains, restaurants and bars. These offers were higher than the deal we ultimately signed,” Mahfar said in a statement, without revealing details of the deal. “I held out for a tenant I knew would be a good neighbor and a good member of the community."
Warby Parker preserved many of the original details of the 2,000-square-foot-plus storefront, including the terrazzo floor, staircase, mezzanine railings, front door and iconic green sign, which will soon read Warby Parker. Book-filled reading nooks complete the old-fashioned feel.
Warby Parker has also added some modern touches to the space, including a pneumatic tube to transport glasses from floor to floor at top speed and a photo booth where customers can test out different frames.
Although Warby Parker is a national brand — with local outposts in SoHo and the Meatpacking District — a Winick Realty Group broker who helped ink the deal said the shop will fit in well with other local retailers.
“This area of Lexington Avenue still maintains the character of old New York with local and mom-and-pop stores, as opposed to the national chains that proliferate nearby 86th Street,” broker Darrell Rubens said in a statement. “Warby Parker will be a wonderful addition to the community.”
The store is located at 1209 Lexington Ave.