March 4, 2023 | 09:01
This eye doctor’s office is a must-see!
You may need your peepers checked after walking into the crazy waiting room of New Jersey ophthalmologist Mark Leitman.
The hippy-dippy East Brunswick doctor’s work resembles a funhouse/Mardi Gras mashup, resplendent with clowns, collectibles, crystals, mannequins and other items that catch his eye.
He doesn’t worry if outsiders find his opulent optics an eyesore.
“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space,” the happy 76-year-old told The Post.
The self-described collector, originally from Laurelton, Queens, is the creative curator of jam-packed spaces.
Leitman has filled every inch of the space.
Dr. Leitman with one of the dolls that decorate his waiting room.
Leitman’s waiting room is almost too much for the eyes.
Small messages are hidden in the decor.
Leitman said patients who complain don’t bother him.
“It’s everything I’ve loved for over 50 years!” Leitman exclaimed, like Willy Wonka on a sugar high. “I’m never unhappy!”
For decades, Leitman has added a trinket here, or a mineral there from his travels to stores, shops and adventures abroad.
It all started with a crystal stone from Colombia that Leitman admired and took with him to work. He was hooked.
“As a child, I collected coins. But the color of the stones really surprised me. And I have every single colorful stone. Next I moved on to shells and then I moved on to colorful feathers. I went to all the zoos. I donated to zoos and they let me go in the cage and get the feathers. If I see a bird shop, I ask, ‘Can I have that feather?’ ” he explained.
The doctor also digs sulfur crystals he retrieved from the top of a volcano on the island of Dominica in the eastern Caribbean Sea. “There’s always something different,” he noted.
His office floor, ceiling and walls are etched with meaty expressions such as “Happiness is a treasure hunt” and “Unapologetically bohemian”.
“You know who gets it? Collectors,” Leitman explained. “This is not a free ride. It takes a lot of effort!”
The crazy office belies Leitman’s bonafides: He completed ophthalmology training at Albert Einstein Medical School, where he was chief resident, and authored a book on eye examination and diagnosis while in medical school, now in its 10th edition and translated into nine languages .
His employees see eye-to-eye with their boss.
“Dr. Leitman calls it a jewel box of everything. It’s just a fun house, a fun place. I love it. The children [patients] love it,” gushed loyal receptionist Terry Hadzimichalis, who has worked with the good doctor for over 25 years.
“He is one of a kind. When I first got here, it was like, wow,” said Joann Anderson, the ophthalmologist’s technician and biller. “He has a fantastic imagination. He likes colorful things.”
First-time patients are known to walk in the front door and turn the field when faced with the sensory assault. “They go out, call us and ask, ‘Where are you?’ [located]Anderson laughed.
Not everyone thinks Leitman is a visionary.
“Patients will come in and complain [about the optic overload] and do you know what I think when someone complains?” asked the ophthalmologist. “My God, can you imagine living with that person!”