By SETH KUGEL
Published: January 2, 2005
Countless New Year’s Eve revelers awoke yesterday morning (or afternoon) longing to get rid of a sickening hangover, while many residents and visitors in the city’s Dominican neighborhoods were convinced they had just the cure: a dose of La Rapidita, two yellow pills that bodegas sell for a dollar and that are far more popular among Dominicans than over-the-counter remedies like Tylenol and Alka-Seltzer.
Francisco Alberto Polanco was among the fervent believers. “Between my woman and me, we drank half a gallon of Black Label last night,” Mr. Polanco, 36, said just before noon as he walked into the Food Center bodega on St. Nicholas Avenue in Washington Heights to buy a bag of pork cracklings and a Rapidita.
Mr. Polanco, who was visiting from the Dominican Republic, said he had used it for three years and had taken a dose the night before . “It works,” he said. “With La Rapidita, in about 30 minutes I’m rid of my headache.” With the second dose, he said, the partying could begin anew.
Part of its allure, apparently, is the belief that La Rapidita is made in the Dominican Republic. “It is from over there,” said William Javier, a 28-year-old Washington Heights resident who said he had used the remedy at least 50 times. “People who are here know it is from over there.”
But despite his insistence, Mr. Javier was misinformed. La Rapidita, which came on the market 16 years ago, has always been manufactured on Long Island by Natural Health Products, a Dominican-American company whose headquarters is on Fifth Street in the East Village.
La Rapidita, which the company labels in English as “Hangover Helper,” contains acetaminophen, calcium carbonate, thiamine mononitrate and 43 milligrams of caffeine. Essentially, it’s like taking a Tums, a Tylenol, a Vitamin B1 supplement and half a cup of coffee. “This sold out in two days,” said Mercedes Núñez, a worker in Santiago Food Market, on St. Nicholas Avenue, as she held up an empty box that had contained 30 two-pill packets. “This won’t last through tomorrow,” she added, grabbing a new box.
Read more: The New York Times > New York Region > Yellow Pills, When Liquor Leaves You Feeling Green.