OPTOMETRIST CLOSES AFTER 48 YEARS (UPDATE)

blankman

Dr. Stuart Blankman, an optometrist who had occupied a storefront at 2472 Broadway between 91st and 92nd street since 1967, recently closed up shop for good. The storefront is now for rent and the inside has been cleared out.

Blankman recounted his 48-year history at the shop in a promotional video we’ve posted below. In it, he says “many of my patients have been returning with their families for decades.” One patient, he said on the video, had been seeing him since 1963.

blankman2It’s not clear why Blankman closed the business — he may have simply retired, as he was in his late 70’s. One of his patients wrote to us expressing surprise at the suddenness of the closure: “I was a patient there and I received no notice – just wondering if anyone else did?”

It’s also not clear if a criminal complaint connected to an incident in his office may have played any role.

Blankman had pleaded guilty in September 2012 to one count of harassment in regards to a criminal complaint alleging that he had moved his hand up the inner thigh of a woman in his office without her consent. The harassment conviction was a Class B misdemeanor and Blankman was sentenced to a conditional discharge, according to the District Attorney’s office. When the police first brought charges, the Post ran a short story headlined “Perv Eye Doc Busted,” quoting anonymous police officials. The story says he had tried to slip his hand up the dress of a 48-year-old patient, according to police.

Blankman stayed in business for a couple of years after the guilty plea. But it may have also hurt the business to have the Post headline come up anytime someone tried to Google him.

Update: A commenter pointed out that Blankman was suspended from practicing, and we’ve found the notice of that on The State Education Department website from October: “Indefinite actual suspension of not less than 3 months and until mentally fit to practice, upon termination of suspension, 2 years probation to commence upon return to practice, $3,000 fine payable within 6 months.”

No one was picking up the phone on Blankman’s office lines and his lawyer said he did not know how to get in contact with him.

Photo by Kenneth.

NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 42 comments | permalink
    1. Erica says:

      Not at all surprised he up and closed without being professional and notifying customers to provide medical records. His associate Jeffey Stark was lovely and knew his stuff. Had hoped he was going to buy out the business. Blankman was well beyond his prime and awful with customer service.

    2. Bill says:

      So unprofessional. What about our records? Stark was fine and Blannkman was ok as a service provider,.although the office was an administrative nightmare.

    3. Ken says:

      I stopped going to Blankman years ago when he lied to me about giving me progressive lenses for my glasses (and charging extra for them) and then delivering regular lenses. He became very nasty about it when I asked for a refund. Good riddance.

    4. webot says:

      Wait a minute, where are the outcries of the loss of an old time mom and pop and evils of corporate chains (Blame Lenscrafters! Warby Parker! Luxottica!).

      sarcasm of course, but it does go to show we live in a grey world, not black or white.

      • efg says:

        Irrelevant sarcasm, even, as that’s rife with false equivalence.

        We do live in a world of grays, very true. But this isn’t a prime example of how that often affects our neighborhood (sometimes to its benefit, sometimes not).

    5. Brian says:

      Go to Dr. Kanevsky at 527 Columbus Ave. Very nice and professional people.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        thanks, Brian, for the rec.

        Does anyone know where Dr. Stark went? he was relatively young.

      • Thank you for your kind recommendation. I have been in touch with Dr. Stark and he is trying to see if your records can be located. He hopes to have some news for his patients quite soon. Feel free to stop in and we will do our best to help you get in touch with Dr. Stark.

    6. Bruce Bernstein says:

      i used Dr. Stark for at least five years and he was much better than the corporate chains. Plus they took my insurance! I, for one, am sorry to see this business close.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        … and yes, I do indeed bemoan the loss of an almost 50 year small business on the UWS. they must have been doing something right to stay in business that long.

        • webot says:

          ……Greedy Landlords!

          We need commercial rent control!……….

          ——-back in day, before the yuppies…….

          …….yawn

        • webot says:

          well, sounds like he did something wrong at the end….

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            just for the record, Stark, the 2nd guy in the office, has not been accused of doing anything wrong. and you’ll find a lot of positive comments about him on this thread.

            • webot says:

              Just for the record, I never said that he did.

              Get off your high horse, BB.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              does every comment from you have to include a personal insult?

            • webot says:

              I was thinking something similar.BB

              Does every one of my comment deserve one of your obnoxious retorts? Usually based on some half truth, or an attempt to defame me with an unrelated comment from months back.

              but using here as an example. I did not say anything about Stark . I don’t know either of them. The main post is about the main doctor. Clearly you have a problem about this whole website. unable to control it, you attack the posters. and also always feel the need for the last word.
              You loathe that I call you on your untruths and exaggerations, and strategically left out facts.

    7. James says:

      KRAMER: Well, I saw Mom and Pop this morning, but when I went by the store on my way home? The place was empty. Everything is gone. Mom and Pop – vrooop – vanished.

      JERRY: So all my sneakers are gone?

      KRAMER: I’m afraid so. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve been asking around – they didn’t even have any kids.

      JERRY: Mom and Pop aren’t even a Mom and Pop?!

      KRAMER: It was all an act, Jerry. They conned us, and they scored, big time.

      ELAINE (amused): So. Mom and Pop’s plan was to move into the neighborhood…establish trust…for 48 years. And then, run off with Jerry’s sneakers?

    8. Dana B says:

      Another one bites the dust. Maybe Gary Tracy will be next with his delightful combination of arrogance and poor quality glasses.

    9. Beth says:

      His license to practice was suspended. That might have something to do with why he closed up shop.

    10. julia fine says:

      I understand your posting notice of this store’s closing, but I fail to understand, in view of the closing, why you needed to recount a history of a class B misdemeanor. Conjecture as to why this shop was closed years did not require inclusion of a slightly prurient anecdote about one of the persons. Not nice!!

      • Independent says:

        This was my reaction as well. I don’t see what is accomplished by posting such scandalous at this point– other than serving to titillate and indulge an appetite for sensationalist gossip.

        I know nothing about this particular case. I would point-out, however, that a guilty plea does not necessarily prove actual guilt. Defendants (even if innocent) are sometimes advised to plea guilty simply because the likelihood of their being vindicated by trial appears low. Innocent defendants can also be pressured and intimidated into pleading guilty.

        Also, while I know nothing about this particular case, I feel the following should be pointed-out. Whenever a woman (or, for that matter, a minor of either sex) accuses a man of sexual misconduct, the odds are decidedly stacked against the accused man– no matter how innocent he may be. A single accusation, no matter how unfounded, can all-too-easily ruin a man’s reputation. Irreversibly. Even when a man is vindicated at trial, far more people will recall the allegation than will ever know of the vindication.

        Again, I know nothing about this particular case. I am only making a general point that must be kept in mind.

    11. Linda Sproule says:

      i glad he has finally closed his business. I had an unpleasant incident with Stuart Blankman when I was in my 30’s, similar to the woman who called the police. He started by telling me I had “doe eyes, like Goldie Hawn.”
      And he proceeded from there. I was too afraid to confront him, but I never went back to him.

    12. Sue says:

      This is sad: I had just rediscovered him in 2014 after many years, and he went out of his way – providing me with a free eye exam when my regular ophthalmologist didn’t respond to a request for my prescription. He’ll be missed.

    13. Karen says:

      The loss of any business whose proprietor is guilty of sexual harassment or harassment of any other personal nature is no loss.

    14. RR says:

      I have a complicated Rx. It was Dr. Blankman who corrected Dr. Stark’s mistake. The old pro knew exactly why my new glasses were giving me headaches and fixed the problem. His expertise will be missed.

    15. Leigh says:

      Thanks for much for this article. I wondered what had happened, as I’d just seen Dr. Stark for a DMV exam in January 2015. The closing of so many small mom-n-pop storefronts in this neighborhood makes me really sad, and the ridiculous rents are dramatically changing the character of the UWS. Not for the better, IMO.

    16. BILL says:

      Optometry

      Stuart Harvey Blankman; New York, NY 10025; Lic. No. 002630; Cal. No. 27486; Application for consent order granted; Penalty agreed upon: Indefinite actual suspension of not less than 3 months and until mentally fit to practice, upon termination of suspension, 2 years probation to commence upon return to practice, $3,000 fine payable within 6 months.

    17. Cyrus says:

      I was a patient at that office and was also given no notice of the closure. Stark was great, very pleasant. Please pass along if anyone knows where he landed – at least if it’s on the UWS

    18. Richard says:

      3/6/15 UPDATE:

      I just called Dr. Blankman’s number (212-362-8090). The call was automatically forwarded to PILDES OPTICAL on 2165 Broadway. Apparently PILDES OPTICAL have all patient records! You can call them to confirm this.

    19. Independent says:

      I call upon both webot as well as Bruce Bernstein (and everyone else) to consistently observe the basic grammatical rules of capitalization.

      • J says:

        I am the owner of an optical store and have known about Stuart Blankman’s behavior but was legally not permitted to reveal that at the time. I was shocked and dismayed that it took 3 years for the state to suspend his license.

        It is also a sad testimonial to see another store and an Optometrist using this to promote and expand their business.

    20. Leo Bazile says:

      I was a patient of his for 20 years and my wife for 10 and I always enjoyed seeing him. Now I find out that Pildes has our records. I’m sure it will cost us more money, now.

      • j says:

        this was posted online by the office of Medicaid inspector General. Here’s the link to the website: http://www.omig.ny.gov/latest-news/787-optometrist-with-history-of-harassment-denied-medicaid-reinstatement

        Stuart Blankman, a Manhattan optometrist, requested reinstatement into the Medicaid program. New York City Criminal Court had convicted Blankman in September 2012 for harassment after he admitted to inappropriate conduct that placed a female patient in reasonable fear of physical injury and led to her having an order of protection instituted against him. OMIG denied reinstatement under 18 NYCRR §515.10(g) since Blankman’s conviction has a direct bearing on his ability to potentially provide safe, high-quality care to Medicaid patients.

        For more information on the reinstatement process and how it works, see the OMIG webinar on the Exclusion and Reinstatement Process

    21. Stevie says:

      Dr. Blankman was a character. He was very talkative. He told me he had a home in Woodstock where he had a hot tub and liked to walk around nude. I am a guy. It seemed he was giving me too much information. Dr. Stark is a smart guy, but when Dr. Blankman got in trouble he should have left the partnership.

    22. Kristen says:

      I just saw that Pildes Optical has acquired Dr. Blankman’s records, if anyone is still looking for them.

    23. Diane says:

      I know this is an old article but I just walked past the closed shop and I am so happy! Justice at last.
      For those of you saying that the harassment shouldn’t have been mentioned, I am so glad it was because he harassed me as well and I am so glad to know that there is right in the world.

      I was young. Late teens or early 20s.
      Dr. Blankman made comments about my shirt that had butterflies on it and tried to guess my AOL screen name. He gave me his screen name and said we could chat but don’t tell his wife. Then he ran his fingers through my hair. I said “don’t do that!” and he made a face and complained that I was wearing too much hair product and that he would have to wash his hands or his wife would smell my hair product on him. I left and told him I would be ordering my contact lenses elsewhere.

      He then intentionally sent the wrong prescription to 1-800-contacts (comically wrong, definitely not a mistake) and forced me to come in to pick up a copy of the right one and tried to make it look like 1-800-contacts had made the mistake. He yelled and it was very unprofessional. 1-800-contacts was confused, apologetic, and very helpful.

      So glad someone pressed charges and shut this sleezebag down!

      I did not know Dr. Stark so I have nothing bad to say about him.