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From diner to CVS

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If you’re still suffering from indigestion over the closing of the Kings Plaza Diner, at least you’ll soon have a place to buy antacid — a CVS Pharmacy will soon be built on the property left vacant by the famed Avenue U eatery.

The news has confused many in Marine Park, where chain pharmacies can be found on every corner — literally.

“I don’t get it,” Marine Park resident Nicolas Savino said as he walked by the blue construction fence and the notice advertising the CVS about to be built between Coleman and Hendrickson streets. “Don’t we have enough of these?”

Savino’s right: a CVS Pharmacy already exists on Flatbush Avenue between Avenues T and U — around the corner from the new project. It’s one of two CVS Pharmacies in the 11234 ZIP code — the other being on Ralph Avenue between Avenues M and N.

But there are plenty of other chain pharmacies to choose from: there are three Rite Aids in the area, including one on Flatbush Avenue and Avenue S — two blocks from the new CVS. There’s also one on Mill Avenue and Avenue U, about ten blocks away.

Duane Reade has also staked a claim in the area. They recently opened a store at the corner of Avenue U and Nostrand Avenue — about a dozen blocks from the former Kings Plaza Diner.

And Walgreens has a store on Avenue U and E. 56th Street — just eight blocks away from the new pharmacy.

Residents don’t know why CVS is planning to build a new store in an already pharmacy-heavy neighborhood.

Some speculate that CVS plans to close its Flatbush Avenue store down once the new drug mecca — which should take up the whole block and will have more parking — is built.

“If that’s the case and there will be more parking for customers, then I’m for it,” said Marine Park resident John Manzola. “It will be more convenient for the community.”

But CVS is being quite closed lipped about its plans — repeated calls for comment about the new store were not returned.

Instead of another drug store, many residents would like to see another sit-down eatery like their beloved Kings Plaza Diner.

The diner served its last supper on Oct. 24, 2010, capping 35 years of satisfying the appetites of hungry Marine Park residents. The diner opened about a year after the mall opened, making it a perfect resting spot for mall weary — and hungry — shoppers.

Diner “regulars” were bemoaning the restaurant’s closure a year before owner Nick Stathos officially shut its doors. Yet, some hope that Stathos will open another Kings Plaza Diner in the vicinity — something he was “more than cryptic about” at the May 1 Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club dinner, where he and his son were honored for their many years of community service.

“[Stathos] made a number of remarks about opening a new restaurant,” said Councilman Lew Fidler (D-Marine Park), who was there.

He added that Stathos talked about keeping the restaurant’s name.

“I guess he couldn’t open a Kings Plaza Diner without it being near Kings Plaza,” Fidler said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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