Scents in the City: Clyde’s on Madison
Fragrant Gems Amidst the Bobby Pins


Clyde’s on Madison

I am not an uptown girl (nosebleeds above 60th street). But I have friends who are, and they swear by Clyde’s On Madison for ALL their beauty needs. But what can make a pharmacy worth the trip to 74th and Madison, when you can find pretty much what you are looking for in your own neighborhood, at a department store or online? For me, it was a few magic words – Diptyque, Claus Porto, Santa Maria Novella, Eau d’Italie and Linari. And yes, my grail hairspray…L’Oreal’s Ellnet.

Fabulous European Specialty Brands and High End Department Store Brands

Navigating Clyde’s is not difficult; the store is set up partly like a department store, with counters for the major brands of Guerlain, Dior, and Shiseido. You will also discover brands not typically found in the department stores such as Dr. Haushka, Mustela, Dr. Perricone (Clyde’s was the first retail outlet to carry this brand according to the owner), Maelin + Goetz, Darphin, Shiseido Men, and the wonderful all natural Clarks Botanical’s line as well as elusive Guinot products.

Cult Classique from Caron– Muguet de Bonheur

Most of the fragrances are housed together. I discovered some hard to find fragrances from Caron including Bellodgia created in 1927, Muguet Du Bonheur created in 1952 and Pour Un Homme created in 1934. Their selection of Guerlain includes some of the House’s masterpiece fragrances; there was Eau De Cologne Imperiale, Heure Bleue, the classic Shalimar and the rarely seen men’s fragrance Habit Rouge Pour Homme. Nina Ricci’s L’air Du Temps, created in 1948 is another fragrance high in demand at Clyde’s; one customer purchases 12 pure perfumes at a time.

There is a section of aisles jam packed (like many drugstores) with sundry items and mass market brands, but to my great surprise I found L’Oreal’ export hairspray Ellnet which is used by stylists in the know. Even with the pinch of the euro on American pockets, stock up! And be sure to take your times perusing the aisles for hidden treasures.

I met with Rick Friedland, the General Manager of Clyde’s, a former Special Event Planner for the NFL. That is correct; from all that testosterone to women’s potions and lotions!

BN: How long has Clyde’s on Madison been in business? How did it start and what products were first carried?
RF: Clyde Chemists has been in existence since the 1940s, and under its current ownership since 1998. Clyde’s has always been a pharmacy, and traditionally carried pharmaceutical specialties such as herbal remedies. Under new management, European cosmetic brands and hard-to-find specialty items have been a hallmark of the store, and that mission continues to this day.

BN: With so many beauty and wellness destinations in NYC, what makes Clyde’s on Madison so very special?
RF: The overall shopping experience at Clyde’s – particularly the customer service – is designed to be superior to those in department stores, beauty specialty stores, and other pharmacies. We pride ourselves on outstanding customer service and personal attention to a shopper’s needs – they are of paramount importance to us. Moreover, Clyde’s is known for certain hard-to-find brands, and that makes it another attractive option in the retail beauty landscape.

Hard To Find Offerings from Eau D’Italie and Santa Maria Novella

BN: Since this is for our fragrance section, how do you edit through the thousands of scents available on the market? Do you have any new lines you are adding this spring?
RF: Presentation and packaging has a lot to do with it, but the scent also must have some originality to it. Clyde’s customer base also calls for fragrances with true heritage, such as Arpege, Nina Ricci, Guerlain and Caron. There is still a high demand for classic fragrances – not too many department stores carry them anymore – so the customer gets displaced for awhile. After developing a loyalty to a fragrance for some fifteen to twenty years, you’re not easily swayed to try something new. We also carry fragrances from the major designer/ perfumers, such as Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Yves St. Laurent and Hermes. Often our customers find scents that are so hard to find that they buy a few bottles at a time, By Dolce Gabbana and Mitsouko by Guerlain are such fragrances.

A BN Favorite: Diptyque’s Baises Candle

Mary J. Blige has been known to buy Diptyque’s Baises candle by the dozen. This Spring, we will carry most of the major fragrance launches including Prada, Polo-Explora, and Burberry-The Beat. These are just a few we will be getting in the next few weeks.

BN: Will you be expanding into any new categories this year?
RF: Clyde’s will continue the development of its private label brand this year, and also seek to expand upon its growing catalog business. We’re also exploring ways to further develop our popular tote bags, perhaps by partnering with an established fashion designer.

BN: What fragrance do you wear that can be purchased at Clyde’s? What fragrance do you love on a woman?
RF: I wear Gucci Envy, and I love Hermes’ Eau de Merveilles on my wife.

So take the journey uptown, (as their online store does not epitomize the breadth of their amazing brands). Drop off your prescription and while you wait, browse the offerings at Clyde’s. I assure you, you will not be disappointed nor will you leave empty handed.

Clyde’s on Madison
926 Madison Avenue at 74th Street
New York, NY 10021

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