The New Drive-Thru
By Nick Haramis
Inside Smoothmed clinic, above.
This summer, around the corner from Bloomingdale’s, a new storefront overtook East 59th Street, and immediately, the Manhattan neighborhood looked more relaxed, youthful even. Smoothmed, the brainchild or Dr. Andrew Elkwood and his partner Dr. Michael Rose, is not unlike the convenience of, say, “McDonald’s or a quick oil change,“ Elkwood explains. The first Botox clinic of its kind in the world’no appointment necessary!’Smoothmed might just be the next step in the evolution of constructed beauty.
BLACKBOOK: Had you noticed a demand for this?
DR. ANDREW ELKWOOD: In my own practice, nurses would always tap me on the shoulder, saying, “Mrs. Jones is here, can you fit her in?“ But we were mixing short, quick things with longer procedures. Sometimes you just want to go in for an oil change, so they came up with Quick Lube. I shouldn’t use analogies like this. We had a little episode with heroin’wait, that didn’t come out right’a heroin comment.
BB: You come from a background colored by limb replantation and cancer rehabilitation. This seems like plastic surgery-lite by comparison.
AE: That’s exactly what it is. We are passionate about the concept, but are we interested medically? Not really. There would be something wrong with me if I felt better about giving someone big breasts than making children walk.
BB: What’s the biggest myth about plastic surgeons?
AE: I want to dispel the myth that plastic surgery is like in James Bond, where you unwrap the gauze and look, all of a sudden, like Rock Hudson or Richard Nixon.
BB: Richard Nixon? You get that a lot?
AE: Well, no.
Dr. Andrew Elkwood, above.
BB: Given the quickie nature of this clinic, do you attract a different breed of client?
AE: We get more first-timers, because most Park Avenue types stick to their world-famous plastic surgeons. We’ve been surprised by the number of men who come in. We get work types who come in on their lunch breaks. The women are a little younger than we expected, too.
BB: How young?
AE: The youngest reasonable patients are in their early thirties. It’s rare we’d feel comfortable treating an 18-year-old.
BB: What’s the next step in the evolution of Botox? Self-administration?
AE: I don’t think so’although, people are doing it in some salons. You can get illegal Botox in places you’d never imagine. I think the trend will be that the Botox taboo will be wiped away. It used to be that no one talked about cosmetic surgery, but now it’s a lot like orthodontics. I think now people brag about Botox. Even men are starting to pamper themselves. It used to be about Brill Crï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½me and a razor, but that’s changing. I think another trend you might see is longer-lasting Botox. Right now Botox lasts for about four or five months. I’m sure someone, somewhere, is working feverishly on Botox that will last for a year.
BB: So, Botox starts with badly handled meat?
AE: It does, definitely. Botox is botulism, but it’s given in such diluted amounts that it functions like an altogether different substance. I like to compare it with chlorine. When concentrated, it’s chemical warfare, yet chlorine saves countless millions of lives. Botox is a good thing. I give it to my family members.
BB: Do you get injections?
AE: No, I personally don’t. I just haven’t really gotten around to it.
SmoothMed, 111 East 59th Street, 212-371-7666.
Photos by Maddy Simpson.