The Mystery of 787 Lex! Who’s Taking the Doll Hospital?

A spa may be taking the place of 109-year-old Upper East Side fixture the New York Doll Hospital.

The hospital for broken and damaged dolls went out of business last May after its longtime owner, Irving D. Chais, passed away at the age of 83 after a long illness. “My understanding is that there was nobody in the family to take over the business,” said David Hazelcorn, who represents the building’s landlord Harran Holding Corporation.

A red “For Rent” sign has been plastered on the window all June, and prospective tenants—including a spa that markets Guinot beauty products—have been exploring the niche on the second floor of 787 Lexington Avenue, at 61st Street.

Mr. Hazelcorn said he has received “many inquiries.” He added that he is expecting a contract to be signed in the next few weeks, but declined to comment on the identity of any potential tenants.

The scene at 787 Lexington Monday afternoon indicated that a spa may very well take the storefront, which is already adjacent to Fiber Hair Spa.

Three men who declined to identify themselves were preparing the emptied store—marked by dusty floors, empty wooden bookshelves, and a ladder—for a prospective tenant to take a tour.

There was no sign of doll parts.

“A contractor is here to check the place out,” a tall man with a Russian accent told The Observer. “We have to leave in 10 minutes.”

“Someone is looking into a contract for the place,” a second man with a Russian accent reiterated. He shut the glass door.

The men then talked loudly in a mixture of Russian and English about a potential “reception area.” They opened and shut the door a few times as The Observer stood farther down the steps. Finally, the second man caught sight of The Observer when he opened the door a fourth time, glared, and said emphatically, “No, sorry.”

A woman in a white uniform dress, with the brand-name “Guinot” blazing in red below her shoulder, approached and rang the doorbell. Asked if she was interested in contracting the space, the woman said, “Yeah.” She was ushered inside.

Guinot Paris exports skincare products from France to exclusive spa locations in the United States—they have 35 spa clients in New York City. Their company Web site says that the founder, Rene Guinot, made the initial discovery in 1930 that beauty could be approached from a scientific standpoint. The Mystery of 787 Lex! Who’s Taking the Doll Hospital?