5 New Yorkers Open Their Medicine Cabinets

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Photo: Bobby Doherty

The Pharmacist
Name: Stanley George
Age: 41
Neighborhood: Hell’s Kitchen
My medicine cabinet has a two-part strategy. One is for daily maintenance, and the other is for situations which may arise: Band-Aids, first aid, headaches, asthma attacks, a temperature, a cough. You’ve got to have stuff on hand, because it’s no fun going to the drugstore — unless you go to Stanley’s, that is. The others are daily-maintenance things. On the top shelf, there’s an Alkalol nasal wash. When you live somewhere as polluted as New York City, especially in allergy season, it makes you feel so good. On the bottom shelf, there’s a natural deodorant cream based in kale and clay and arrowroot powder. I put it on before I work out in the morning, and it works so well I wear that same T-shirt to work. The asthma inhaler is for my daughter, poor thing. So are those Isaac Mizrahi Band-Aids. My daughters go to those way too quick. The last thing I used in here were those Epsom salts — last night I ran a hot-water bath and dumped about half the carton into there. Let’s just say if you’ve had too much of whatever, it helps you sweat it out. 


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Photo: Bobby Doherty

The Dancer
Name: Riccardo Battaglia
Age: 23
Neighborhood: Park Slope
It’s mostly ibuprofen. One big box that’s 600 milligrams and another one that’s 200 milligrams, and then I have gel, too, if I need it on a certain spot. Usually in the winter, I get colds easily, so I keep medicine for that: sore-throat medicine, cough pills, pills for fever. I also have a generic antibiotic. Almost all my medicine is from Italy, where I’m from. I do buy medicine sometimes here, but it’s easier just to bring it back when I go home. Vichy is a cream I use if I’m going to get pimples on my face. And there’s the rose water: I perform with makeup on, and when I take it off I use the rose water — it helps my skin. Domperidone is for — damn, I should have taken that out. It’s for stomachaches, and for … you know.


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Photo: Bobby Doherty

The Retired Dental Assistant
Name: Esther Arnold
Age: 68
Neighborhood: Forest Hills, Queens
It’s a busy cabinet, unfortunately. Most of the medicine is to control my lupus. Sometimes I have diarrhea because I have IBS, so for that I keep Kaopectate and Imodium. I take a baby aspirin a day, because I’ve had two strokes. The usual Band-Aids, toothpaste, vitamins — I take calcium because I have the beginnings of osteoporosis, even though I do take a medication that’s intravenous once a year, Reclast. And then I do vitamin C time-release to avoid a kidney infection, which I get very easily because
of the lupus. I take Zyrtec daily for allergies. I’m also allergic to iodine, so when I go for tests with contrast, they have to pre-medicate with prednisone and Benadryl. One of the medications that I take for lupus, Lyrica, damaged my esophagus. So they cut out the Lyrica. I was also taking Plaquenil, which is a malaria drug that stops the progression of the lupus. However, because of what had happened they had to take me off of it. So I’m going through a hard time with pain.


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Photo: Bobby Doherty

The Model and Photographer
Name: Louise Parker
Age: 25
Neighborhood: Flatiron District
A lot of the perfumes, lotion, makeup, nail polish, hair stuff — I got them for free, perks of being in the business. I care mostly about what moisturizers I’m using on my face, what makeup removers. La Mer is my favorite; I use it at night. I mix it with this thing I got really recently from Into the Gloss, La Prairie — just a drop — before I go to bed, and then when I wake up I use the Embryolisse, which is a French lotion and is really cheap. The bottle next to it is this Tom Ford illuminating primer. I don’t really wear makeup, but that’s the one thing I’ll put on in the morning, on my cheekbones to give me some shimmer. I have a bunch of hair products that I use because my hair gets damaged from being done all the time. I don’t know what that Euphon is — I live with my boyfriend, Louis, and I cleaned out a bunch of his stuff and found it; it’s some sort of French syrup. The Old Spice is mine, though. I only use men’s deodorant — I hate women’s. I get sick when I’m traveling too much, so I have Midol and Pepto-Bismol for when I’m not feeling great. That little bottle is oil from a resort I stayed in, in Costa Rica. The yellow box on the top shelf — well, I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s a skin-tightening moisturizer. Who knows if it works.


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Photo: Bobby Doherty

The Drag Queen
Name: Ben Strothmann (a.k.a. Honey LaBronx)
Age: 36
Neighborhood: Hell’s Kitchen
The top three and a half shelves are pure essential oils that I mix into different blends. The blends I keep on the bottom shelf, and they’re labeled. I use them to make my own deodorant, to make something to treat sunburn, to make something to help promote sleep, to make a muscle relaxer. I have a product I call medieval oils. It’s a blend of cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary. It’s basically anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-spasmodic. It’s anti-Mame! (That was a theater joke.) It was invented to prevent and treat the bubonic plague, but I use it to treat blemishes and as a mouthwash. I put three drops of it on my tongue and swish and swallow, and after I do that, it’s so strong that it’ll even defeat your coffee breath for a good three hours afterward. I also use it for a base for deodorant — I add lime and patchouli and some sandalwood. The deodorant that I make, it lasts for 24 hours. And a day after I put it on, I actually smell better, because these oils seep deep into your skin and they continue to cook and blend. I invite anyone to wake me up in the morning and smell my underarms. I know that’s a bold statement.

*This article appears in the June 8, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.