By Susanne Beck
Generations of bespectacled Upper West Siders came to know and love Lloyd Charles Chautin – better known as “The Eye Man” – before he retired in 2022 after forty-plus years of overseeing operations at his store of the same name on Broadway at W. 81st Street. About his nickname, he once joked to the West Side Rag: “I’ve gone from being the blind man [he once was a window-shade salesman] to The Eye Man.”
Family members tell the Rag that Chautin’s retirement was short. He passed away on Sunday, December 18th, at home in Long Island. He was 73 years old.
Chautin’s son, Alex, told the Rag that his father was born in the Bronx in October 1949, to European immigrants, Ruth and Nathan Chautin. He opened The Eye Man Ltd. in 1976. He earned a degree in Opthalmic Dressing from the City University of New York in 1979.
Chautin prided himself on top-notch customer service whether the customer was a regular neighborhood shopper or one of the many celebrities he served – among them John Kennedy, Jr. (“always very polite”), Howard Stern, Al Franken, and David Lee Roth (“I had no idea who he was, but I knew his father was an opthalmologist”). He cherished the many friendships that grew out of his work as well as the lifelong connections he maintained with classmates and acquaintances throughout the years.
Chautin sold the business before The Eye Man moved to its current location at 2262 Broadway (across the way from the original site at W. 81st Street).
Chautin was predeceased by the love of his life of 46 years, Michele, who passed in July. He is survived by his two children, Jessikah and Alex, his twin grandchildren, Gavin and Finn, and his older brother, Jerry. A memorial service will be held for Lloyd on January 22nd.