Dear Dr. Zizmor: Thank you for improving my face! Thank you for improving my life! Thank you so much! Isabel R. NY, NY.

And thank you, Dr. Jonathan Zizmor, at the end of your career, for so much else:


Thank you for decorating New York subways since the early 1980s with your colorful ads offering cosmetic dermatological services at reasonable prices. What your printed eyes—permanently downturned in a gentle grin—must have witnessed over the decades: The coming-and-going of graffitied subway cars. Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani, Bloomberg, de Blasio. Loud teens, loud drunks. Shit, heroin, an endless parade of “SHOWTIME. WHAT TIME IS IT? SHOWTIME.”

Thank you, Dr. Zizmor, for your comforting words, the warm embrace of your ad copy that promised that I too could have “beautiful clear skin.”


Thank you for buying a $3.075 million mansion in the Bronx and telling The New Yorker that you “want to use it for world peace.” Thank you for saying, “We are going to invite people who hate each other, and they will spend a weekend together.” I never was invited, but I’m sure it was great.

Thank you for using the same headshot in all your ads, despite the inescapable forward momentum of time. You might be 70 now, but you will always be 40 in our hearts. Thank you for giving the illusion of immortality. It is a curse, but it is also a gift.


Thank you, Dr. Zizmor. Thank you for improving my face. Thank you for improving my life. Thank you so much.

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Image via Dr. Jonathan Zizmor.