Optical Underground

A hidden gem in the Union Square shopping precinct, The Optical Underground (formerly The Optical Outlet) offers an urban layout of high-end designer eyewear at wholesale prices. The store was founded by eyecare professional Lloyd Silverstein in 1990, and comprises a huge selection of overstocked, discontinued, and sample eyewear from colossal names. With a dazzling private collection of designer-inspired styles at a much reduced cost (oftentimes by 50% or more), the pickings are rife with specialty products. The Sola Percepta and Panamic progressives (multi-focal lenses) offer a wider field of vision than other lenses and range from $199 to $300. Both The Optical Underground's single vision and progressive lenses are among the thinnest available in the world and offer anti-reflective coating too. You can't go wrong with styles here but a top pick is the NuLady Deluxe ($85), a bejeweled pair of owlish library lenses in beige and blue that would make Velma proud.

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