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.
It’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.