Dr. Jeffrey Zwerling Works With An Eye On Rockaway
What he likes best about the Rockaways are its people, and Dr. Jeffrey Zwerling has been taking care of the eyes of the people in the Rockaways since his first day practicing Ophthalmology in 1977.
effrey Zwerling was born in Brooklyn, raised in Hewlett and now lives in Woodmere. Yet, he wouldn’t dream having his practice anywhere but the Rockaways.
"I never considered moving this pracice," said Dr. Zwerling. "I know virtually every person and their family that comes in here. These people have been coming to me for 20 whatever it is years."
Having almost followed in his father’s footsteps, those plans changed when he took some needed pre-med credits in biology in school.
"My father designed the air conditioning in the [World] Trade Center," said a proud Dr. Zwerling, adding the picture of the Twin Towers hanging in his waiting room originally came from his father’s den. "My father was an engineer. That’s why I went to engineering school. I always assumed that was what I was going to do."
He started his practice working with Dr. Norman Stevens in 1977. Zwerling divided his time between the office in Rockaway Park and a couple of days a week in Woodmere. After Dr. Steven’s retirement in 1989, he began working out of the Rockaways full-time.
His ties to this area began when he met his wife, Michele, who’s from Bayswater.
"My wife’s from Rockaway, and we met at the beach," recalled Dr. Zwerling. "My best friend introduced us."
They got married in 1970. Two of their sons, Brian and Jonathan, are interning in Ophthalmology at New York Hospital and Cabrini, respectively. The youngest, Corey, is attending college in Buffalo. In June, the two interns start their residencies.
"Brian is going to be at Long Island Jewish, like I was," said Dr. Zwerling. "Jonathan is going to be at Downstate."
Without being aware of it, the elder Dr. Zwerling influenced both sons to follow in his footsteps.
"I’m not only proud, I’m surprised," said Zwerling. "I never pushed them in any direction."
For both sons, seeing their father at work and interact with his patients is what influenced them.
"What convinced me was seeing how much he truly loves his job and how much his patients appreciate him," said Jonathan.
Brian seconded that thought.
"Because I had the opportunity to experience the relationship between my father and his patients starting at an early age, I developed an interest in the field of Ophthalmology," Brian told The Wave. "I can remember all the thank you letters he would bring home from work and how proud I was of him.
"I was most struck by how much positive impact an Ophthalmologist can have on one’s quality of life."
Dr. Zwerling’s dream is for both of his sons to join him in practice. From what they told The Wave, Brian and Jonathan may just make their father’s dream come true.
"I would consider it an honor to work along with my father in the future," said Jonathan.
"At the same time, I’d have the opportunity to work and establish long-term relationships with the people in the community."
Dr. Zwerling is a member of the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce, yet he doesn’t get a chance to attend meetings and functions because of his busy schedule. If his sons join him in practice, it could afford him time to get more involved.
"I’m not really involved," said Dr. Zwerling. "I would love to be."
There’s now three more Dr. Zwerlings than a year ago. Besides his two sons, Brian’s wife Jessica is a resident in neurology at Einstein/Montefiore. Jonathan’s fiancé, who’s doing her residency in pediatric dentistry, will become the fifth Dr. Zwerling.
"I’m proud of my children and mad about my daughter-in-law," said Dr. Zwerling. "I’m insane about them."
From talking with Dr. Zwerling you can tell he also loves his work.
"My patients are just wonderful people," he said. "The people that live here are very pleasant to be around. I enjoy coming to work every single day.
"I’m going to do this as long as my health permits. I never have plans to stop."
With that said, and the prospect of two more Dr. Zwerlings taking up practice in the Rockaways, the relationship between the Zwerlings and the people of the Rockaways should last for many years to come.