Popular Pharmacist; Fresh Fish

Hills & Gardens
By Trudy Whitman

What’s better than having a trusted veteran neighborhood pharmacist nearby? Having two of them in the same storefront! John Capotorto has joined Bassam “Sam” Amin at Wyckoff’s Corner Pharmacy, 205 Court Street. Before working for the Rite Aid on Smith Street, Capotorto built a loyal customer base at his independent pharmacy, Cobble Court, on Court Street. Sam Amin worked in the Cobble Hill CVS, returning from vacation one day to find, after nine years of employment, that he had been made a floater and was expected to travel from CVS to CVS.

Amin left to open Wyckoff’s Corner Pharmacy in 2006. His dedication to his customers (check out yelp.com for all the positive reviews) is well known, and despite the national trend of independent pharmacies being picked off by big box giants, the shop has prospered. No surprise — Cobble Hill prides itself on its loyalty to beloved mom and pops.

John Capotorto was similarly fed up with pharmaceutical Goliaths and is delighted to have the opportunity again to serve the community more personally. The listservs are buzzing with the news that Capotorto is back behind a local independent pharmacy counter, with one poster calling him “a true neighborhood asset.” Wyckoff’s Corner Pharmacy is open Mondays-Saturdays; 718 923-1122. Free delivery is available.

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The waters are astir at Fish Tales where the shop is teeming with news. The really big innovation is that Fish Tales, at 191A Court Street, (718 246-1346), is now open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — great news for those of us who have replaced meat with fish as our major source of protein.

In addition, the store is featuring real deals online. You can sign up for discounts and other special offers by asking to be placed on an email list at the store, or simply by sending an email to staff@fishtalesonline.com. Don’t let this one get away! For the week of February 28, for example, the shop offered 10 percent off the merchandise on a customer’s first visit, 15 percent off on the second, and 20 percent off the purchase on the third visit.

For Boerum Hill artist Sandra Forrest, Fish Tales has become such an integral part of the community that she was inspired to immortalize the store and the men who run it — owner John Addis and managers Louis Spada and Alex Ortiz — in a mosaic and clay portrait that now hangs in the shop. Be sure to check it out when you visit. Look for whimsical details, such as the crab shod in red high-heel pumps!

After working as an art director at Golden Books and Weekly Reader, Forrest now teaches art at a Harlem high school. She is active with local artists’ groups, one of which, the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists’ Coalition, will be showing Brooklyn artists’ work every weekend in May at the Civil War-era warehouses at 499 Van Brunt Street, across from Fairway. Visit BWAC.org for details.

Coincidentally, as this column was being composed, Fish Tales hosannas appeared in a Sunday, March 6, piece in The New York Times. Journalist Andrew Cotto called the shop a “piscatarian’s paradise.” It is not only the fish that is praiseworthy, he wrote, but the “high-end, exceptional service.” The Fish Tales fellows “know names.” “They peel off plastic gloves to shake hands. Dialogue is constant and inclusive, but it’s not chatter; it’s conversation.”

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As part of a Black History Month celebration, Long Island College Hospital recently hung a permanent African art display, “Art Heals,” in the corridor of the hospital’s building at 97 Amity Street. The collection was donated by Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Interim president Dominick Stanzione and Dr. Millicent Comrie, vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, hosted the dedication ceremony.

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