The Soda Fountain

Finally back to writing my food blog this week. And as I researched the news about Brooklyn Farmacy opening inside a Kiehl’s store, I came across a bit of history of Americana and thought it was really fun…. the “soda fountain”!

Kiehl’s was founded as an old-world apothecary in the Lower East Side neighborhood 160 years ago. And until today the old house on third avenue looks like a pharmacy. As to the soda fountain, as old as Kiehl’s, it became popular exactly in pharmacies, as an attempt to replicate mineral waters that bubbled up from the Earth with rejuvenating and/or curating powers.  In the early 20’s the soda fountain flourished in all sorts of pharmacies, ice cream parlors and train stations; also creating a very civilized public space where neighbors could socialize and exchange community news. The person that operated the soda fountain, mixing syrups to the water he carbonated., in a highly coveted job, was the soda Jerk…

Cut to today, Kiehl’s opens a satellite of the very cool hipster joint from Caroll Gardens (Henry Street, that I miss so much) Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, also old-fashioned and classy store decorated with original tile and wood from 1920’s. Along with serving up the legendary NY Egg Cream, they’re mixing on-the-spot, old-time favorites such as Cherry Lime Rickeys, Ginger Ale, Lime and Root Beer.  The soda jerks are probably NYU students raising cash and they hop back and forth from Brooklyn to Manhattan; but really….it’s cool.