In 1927, before eyeglasses became a year-round accessorizing necessity, Jack Cohen, founder of Cohen's Fashion Optical, sold soap, towels and clear plastic glasses from a pushcart in the Lower East Side. While his business was successful, the glasses' single, uninspired style, which was made with magnifying glass lenses, left Cohen dissatisfied.
In his bathtub at home, he began mixing dyes and tinting the frames all different colors. His business grew into a storefront on Orchard and Delancey Streets on the lower east side of Manhattan and eventually into a chain of more than 100 stores around the Northeast, including the Cohen's Fashion Optical at 211-51 26th Avenue in the Bay Terrace Shopping Center.
Now, 80 years later, Cohen's sells high-fashion frames ranging from $99 to $1,000 by designers such as Prada, Oliver Peoples, Alain Mikli and Bulgari, the Bayside store's most popular brand.
The glasses, no longer made merely for sun protection or sight, come in Maui Jim's polarized glare-resistant glass, oversized and retro horn-rimmed styles as well as this season's popular Bulgari crisscross rhinestone frame. The store also sells colored contacts, provides eye exams and half-hour service for most lenses.
Many customers come in for an eye exam and a new pair about once a year. Moreover, with more than 15 years in the business, anyone who comes to the store can expect expert assistance in picking the right pair.
The perfect match depends on hair color, complexion, face and eye shape. Equally important is a person's individual style, and when someone picks up the right pair, you just know if it fits.
For more information about Cohen's Fashion Optical store located at 211-51 26th Avenue in Bayside's Bay Terrace Shopping Center or for directions call, 718-631-3699.