Tuesday, May 5, 2020

RIP Ali Yasin



We heard the sad news that Ali Yasin, the pharmacist and proprietor at New York City Pharmacy on First Avenue, has died. According to a text to customers from his family, Ali died Sunday night from COVID-19-related complications.


[Ali Yasin, left, from 2013]

Several East Village residents and patrons of the shop, located between 12th Street and 13th Street, shared their thoughts about Ali and his family-run business:

I knew Ali for over 30 years — before the last three of his four sons had been born, beginning with his tenure working at the old McKay’s (pre-CVS). He was so very special to me and my family. The neighborhood has lost a real gentleman, fighter and treasure. — Nancy Arons

He and his family are an integral part of our community. The loss of Ali — whose life story represents the best of America— is simply devastating: He was beyond kind, compassionate and generous. He had a huge impact on our East Village world... and we mourn him like a close family member. Our neighborhood will never be the same. — Brian Katz

He always made sure to say hello with a smile and took the time to accommodate each customer. I've been on new and expensive medications and he always went out of his way to find me coupons online or whatever he could do do bring the prices down for me. If an order didn't come in on time he always tried to give me what he could to hold me over. He was a special man and loved by his customers. He will be missed. — Julie Farol

We'll update this post when more information becomes available about his passing.

Updated: Someone has started a modest crowdfunding campaign for his family. Details here.

Photo by Mario Tama for Getty Images

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

heartbreaking, terrible news and a tremendous loss. condolences to his family and friends. RIP.

Anonymous said...

Sweet, sweet man. Godspeed Ali.

Kelsey said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. He was always so welcoming. I couldn't believe how he could remember everyone's name and I loved that he always made time to chat with every customer.

sophocles said...

I lived on First Ave for many years but for some reason I had overlooked New York City Pharmacy until recently. It is the opposite of an annonymous assembly-line pharmacy, no doubt because it reflected Ali's small-town sensibility. Thank you Ali.

Jon said...

Mr. Yasin was such a kind-hearted man. He treated everyone as family. He truly cared about anyone that walked into his store and demonstrated that fact to you. He will be missed and I wish my best to his family.

dwg said...

Very sad news. Ali was always caring and involved with his customers as were his sons and other employees. It was the tone he set. He always took time to listen and help beyond just filling a prescription. He will be greatly missed I wish the best for his family and employees.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear this sad news, send condolences to the family.

Anonymous said...

Ali generated so much warmth and positive energy for those that came into contact with him. During our first encounter I thought it was an act, like adding honey to sugar on top of syrup, but that's really how sweet this incredible man was. He will be missed. We mourn with his (other) family.

H said...

This is devastating news. Ali was a gem of a person with an incredible ability to connect with his customers who raised an impressive family. He will be missed.

iamralphs said...

Damn -- this was the only pharmacy I used. They were local - and this guy was the nicest pharmacist I ever met. He would spend time explaining things and would often help find a coupon online that would make the medicine I was about to pick up cheaper.... Really sad.

Anonymous said...

Ali was a rare gem. He created not only a business but a life for his family. What a smart, kind, and caring person he was. I always felt so extremely fortunate that he chose my neighborhood to open his pharmacy. My condolences to his family — he will be missed by many.

Giovanni said...

My condolences to Ali’s family, friends and customers. The last I had heard they were optimistic that he was making some progress, but Coronavirus is such a tough one is to beat. Now please, everyone wear a mask, wash your hands, do whatever you can to stop the spread. Do anything you can to stop this virus and help save lives.

Dave on 7th said...

Our family only relatively recently began using Ali as our pharmacist. We couldn’t believe the person we discovered. His kindness, compassion and professional competence were evident from the first greeting. His family can be assured of our continuing custom. In the end, Ali was sacrificed on the altar of compassion. For there is no doubt that he contracted this virus through an act of compassionate care for a customer who came for advice or medicine. Thank you Ali. Our condolences to his family,

Anonymous said...

This is just heartbreaking for our entire family. Mr. Yasin was a pillar of the community, helping my parents find the best cost efficient alternatives to for their medication for year. Our mother passed away last month to CoVid as well and one of our plans for the week was going to the pharmacy she loved to notify him of her passing. We pray for Mr. Yasin and his family.

Greg Masters said...

Terrible news. Ali was always welcoming and friendly. It was always a pleasure to be in his store. His sons and other employees were always cheerful and accommodating as well. I am so saddened to hear of his passing. A great man and a great loss to the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I learned of Mr. Yasin's passing yesterday, and greatly saddened, I remembered a difficult few weeks back in 2010. After a failed procedure at Mt. Sinai, I had terrible, nearly uncontrolled bleeding. When I was worried whether or not to return to the hospital, Mr. Yasin kindly talked me through it and even followed up by phoning me at home later. I barely knew him, yet at that moment, he became my life raft. He became family when I had none. I will never forget his kindness and generosity of spirit. We have lost a great man. Many condolences and prayers for his family. His son also told me yesterday that his kindness extended overseas to Pakistan as well where he was deeply involved in creating and/or supporting a successful orphanage... not surprised at all.

La vie est belle said...

I'm terribly heartbroken about his passing. He was an essential part of the community of this neighborhood and had the biggest heart of anyone. He helped me and many others, and was always so caring, friendly and bright! To say it simply, he was a good man. My condolences to his lovely family. Rest assured his positive impact on us all will be enduring.

Anonymous said...


I’m a 60’s baby, So I grew up on the mom nd pop shops. Something that’s been gone for a long time. Until I moved into the East Village over 20yrs & counting, and found Ali at NY Phamacy. He always took the time!! To greet, ask about your family, your well being. I never once felt it was about the money for him! He was family to us all that knew him very well, along with his Sons, and the rest of the staff members there. He always went beyond just selling or serving you. That Smile was always real! He made it very personal to each of us, it’s hard to write what a true loss we’ve just experienced. I’m sure we all have many stories of the extra things he would do for you! From new to old long-standing Coustumer’s. He wasn’t just a Pharmacist, he was our friend, our family doctor in our neighborhood. If he didn’t have what you needed or wanted, he would get it!!!
My heart goes out to his family!!!🙏🏻😞💔
I will forever cherish the memories and friendship, and all you’ve done for US All here in the
East Village. You will be dearly missed 😢
We love you Ali 💙
Now RIP🙏🏻
THANK YOU for everything!! your friendship, your kind words, and not making us feel like we were just numbers.

Jamie said...

Thank you for highlighting Ali, I've had the pleasure of getting to interact with him on many occasions over the last 10 years - he was such a kind man. He also has been my family's pharmacist for a long time and would provide above and beyond service and support.

Unknown said...

I can't believe Ali that you have left us. You were one of the finest people I have ever met. Your kindness to me was unequaled. You have left a wonderful legacy - your four sons. I am sure they will continue to make you proud.
Thank you for everything. RIP Pat

OlympiasEpiriot said...

Oh this is dreadful news!

I am so, so sorry for his family and everyone who loves him. Such a kind person.

Muhammad Sadiq Fazalbhoy said...

“ALI BHAI WILL ALWAYS BE MISSED, NEVER FORGOTTEN"

Anonymous said...

Ali was the kindest person I ever met. He got me through so many difficult things caring for somebody. I could ask him anything. He knew everybody's name. He always had such a warm smile. In all the years I knew him I never once saw him not be his sympathetic, intelligent, caring self. That he is gone is so hard to fathom. Ali would have wanted us all to wear a mask and keep our distance, to try to prevent any more senseless deaths. In his memory let us be kind to each other.

Anonymous said...

I told someone today that my pharmacist died. They didn't seem to understand why I mentioned it. Then I realized they didn't get what I meant by referring to Ali as my pharmacist, but everyone who was his customer would understand. He wasn't some anonymous person behind a screen putting pills in a bottle, he was a neighbor, an advisor and a healer. I will miss him.

Gerard Sunnen said...

A superior human being, a spiritual, enlightened man who lives on in all of us, Gerard

Anonymous said...


I’m a 60’s baby, So I grew up on the mom nd pop shops. Something that’s been gone for a long time. Until I moved into the East Village over 20yrs & counting, and found Ali at NY Phamacy. He always took the time!! To greet, ask about your family, your well being. I never once felt it was about the money for him! He was family to us all that knew him very well, along with his Sons, and the rest of the staff members there. He always went beyond just selling or serving you. That Smile was always real! He made it very personal to each of us, it’s hard to write what a true loss we’ve just experienced. I’m sure we all have many stories of the extra things he would do for you! From new to old long-standing Coustumer’s. He wasn’t just a Pharmacist, he was our friend, our family doctor in our neighborhood. If he didn’t have what you needed or wanted, he would get it!!!
My heart goes out to his family!!!🙏🏻😞💔
I will forever cherish the memories and friendship, and all you’ve done for US All here in the
East Village. You will be dearly missed 😢
We love you Ali 💙
Now RIP🙏🏻
THANK YOU for everything!! your friendship, your kind words, and not making us feel like we were just numbers.

Jules said...

What a terrible loss for our community. He was a wonderful, genuine soul who will be so greatly missed. Sending love and light to his family and friends.

Anonymous said...

I loved the way Ali answered the phone with his beautiful accent. He made me glad that I had to get a prescription! I am so glad that I actually had the chance to know such an outstanding human being. He did New York and the East Village proud. We love you Ali.

elyse said...

This is so profoundly sad and unfair. I don't even have words to express my feelings. He was the most gracious, honest, warm, caring person I'll ever meet. I have to keep some of that for myself or I will forget. This world is so damaged, especially when someone like Ali is not here anymore.

Gayle said...

My heart is broken by this loss. Ali was not only my family's pharmacist, but always available with a smile and useful advice and instruction. I will miss his friendship and his care and am so grateful that he was part of our lives.

Anonymous said...

I am heartbroken by this news. He was the kindest, most generous man. He took CARE with every transaction. I used to go to Estroff, then KMart, and when I found NYC Pharmacy I was thrilled. He lavished attention on all his customers. I am so saddened. I hope his family is being taken care of as he took care of us.

Anonymous said...

To ali, with love. Mentor, protector, teacher, savior, friend to all. Your store was a peaceful heaven because you were always there, an emissary of god. You graced my life making it a better one and your kundness will always be in my heart. Sometimes when we said "goodbye", i would say "I love you", and I will love you forever, my dear Ali. Fair Winds and blue skies. Godspeed

Caesar said...

As seen by the comments here Ali was a beloved, beloved part of the east village community. We have been using his pharmacy since we moved to the EV in 2005 and his passing is truly going to be a loss for the neighborhood. I was speaking with his sons a few weeks ago and they hadn't been able to visit him or talk directly with him in the hospital. What an absolutely shitty time it is that a gregarious and loving man like Ali has to die alone in a hospital. I pray that his family will find strength and comfort in their time of grief.

Unknown said...

Ali Yasin will be forever missed. With Ali on our side, we always had someone to look up to for advice and guidance.
He and his family are part of the core of our East Village community, always so kind and gracious, considerate and concerned, patient and protective.
We can barely believe that Ali is gone!
Ali was like an angel in life and now, after his passing, he is definitely our angel!
We know that he will continue to look after us as he always did!
To the Yasin Family, please accept my most sincere condolences.
David Lemaire

lightgirl said...

Ad astra, wonderful Ali. What a treasure to share community with such a special man. Bless all who love him. Heaven help us all.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ali, as my mother called him, always greeted us with a smile. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ali when I accompanied my mother to pick up her prescriptions. Even though I was not his customer, he still asked me if there was anything he could help me with. This gentleman was kind, caring, friendly, a true professional, and I could go on and on. He helped my mother whenever she was worried or confused about taking her medicine. He often called her back later, or the next day, to make sure she had what she needed. My mother appreciated Mr. Ali so much. He had a beautiful heart and a love and high regard for his community and his customers. He will be sorely missed. Our prayers and heartfelt condolences go out to Mr. Ali's family.

Anonymous said...

I knew Ali from McKay's - pre-CVS and he was so nice and friendly.
Very sorry to hear this news for him, his family and the store.

zain said...

Follow the link to be part of Ali Yasin's funeral which will be taken place on May 6th after 11am.

Username: nyc_pharmacy2001

https://www.instagram.com/nyc_pharmacy2001?r=nametag

afbp said...

:(

Lola Sáenz said...

We will Miss Ali RIP. A one of a kind caring man. The EV has lost a friend. My condolences to the family.

Anonymous said...

This breaks my heart !! My sincerest condolences go out to his entire family!! It was always a pleasure to speak to Ali. Like most people have shared, he genuinely cared for the people. He never tried to get over on anyone; he tried to save you money. If you didn’t have the money to pay he offered for u to pay later. Whatever you needed if he didn’t have it he’d ordered it. He always helped me in every way he could!!! This is a tremendous loss to our community!!! May he RIP 😢
This really hit me hard !!!

Patricia Kennealy Morrison said...

What amazed me was how he knew the name of every single customer who cane into his store. An amazingly warm person whom I shall always remember. All condolences to his family. May his journey thrive.

Anonymous said...

Mr Yasin caught a doctor’s mistake in dosage that would have sent my child to the emergency room, for which I’ve sung his praises for many years. We were lucky to have had him in our lives.

My heartfelt condolences to his family.

Julie Ashcraft said...

Not only was he emotionally kind, Pharmacist Ali Yasin used critical thinking combined with his vast pharmaceutical knowledge when he looked at prescriptions. He caught a serious error regarding medication in a prescription that my eye doctor wrote. I brought this to my eye doctor's attention, who confirmed the fact that Pharmacist Ali Yasin was correct in his assertion. My doctor proceeded to write a correct prescription which conformed to what Ali had told me.

Anonymous said...

I've recommended this store to many, saying: They restore my hope in humanity.
I am sad, angry, and in mourning.

Anonymous said...

My dermatologist recommended Ali to me, saying he was a great person, and I would love him. And i did. One time I asked his advice about turmeric, and he said to use a mortar and pestle to grind it. I had the base but not the pestle. He said to come back in a few days and he would lend me his wife's, which he did. Just last year I had a raging bronchitis and finally went to see my primary for medication, which he faxed to Ali. When I went to pick it up, Ali said he wouldn't give it to me because he didn't like the side effects. He knew I was very active in musical theater (he always let me put up a poster in the pharmacy) and the side effects could tear ligaments and tendons in my legs. He called my doctor and got another medication. Always with a smile. Always knew everyone's name. Dedicated. Lovely man. There's no one to replace him. RIP.

Martha said...

The comments are all so kind and true. Ali will be missed by everyone that he helped, and I am lucky to have been one of those people. Deepest sympathy to his family. He will never be forgotten.

Unknown said...

We are completely devastated by the loss of Ali. He was the kindest, gentlest person we have ever met. We have never seen anyone give so much of himself to a community. He was literally there for everyone. There have been countless times when Ali has helped us through very difficult moments in our lives.

Our condolences to his beautiful, lovely family. I hope that EV Grieve will continue to keep us posted on ways we can honor Ali. We love you, Ali.

Unknown said...

Oh there aren't enough words to describe how wonderful Ali was. And he passed on his ethics and character to his sons. Not only did this community lose the best pharmacist, my family and I feel we lost a friend. He cared for many of us to his last days at work. Our deepest sympathy to his family. Rest In Peace Kind Sir. We will miss you immensely.Lenora

new-york-danish-boy said...

Such a kind soul.
Such a loss. Ali will never be forgotten!