One of the city's top orthopaedic surgeons, Altchek is on staff at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He's also the medical director for the New York Mets.
The son of an orthopedic surgeon in Middletown, NY, Altchek started following his dad around the office when he was 10 and was already removing casts by his teens. After college at Columbia and med school at Cornell, Altcheck joined the Cornell-affiliated Hospital for Special Surgery as a resident, and trained with Giants team doctor Russell Warren. Now an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Cornell and one of the most popular sports medicine physicians in town, Altchek specializes in elbow, knee, and shoulder injuries. (With Warren, Altchek wrote the definitive book on shoulder injuries, The Unstable Shoulder.) He's also medical director for the Mets and is responsible for tending to injured players; over the years, he's treated Pedro Martinez, Bret Saberhagen, Bobby Bonilla and Carl Pavano. Other famous patients have included Jason Kidd, Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, actor James Gandolfini, and members of the U.S. Davis Cup tennis team like Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.
Altchek became team doctor for the Mets in the early 1990s, but in 2001 the team's then-general manager Steve Phillips decided to auction off the exclusive right to be their "official physician." When Special Surgery refused to engage in an unseemly bidding war, the Mets retained the less prestigious team at NYU's Hospital for Joint Diseases. However, when Omar Minaya took over, he brought Altchek back on board almost immediately.
Like fellow orthopedist Norman Scott, Altchek is a big golf fan. Golf Digest has him in 238th place in their annual ranking of the "250 Best Golfing Docs" in America, which means he's good—but not quite as good as Scott.
Altchek married Anne Salmson in 1981. They have four children, all high school and college athletes: sons Charles and Christopher both played on the Harvard soccer team, and daughters Chloe and Sophie are star athletes at Horace Mann. The Altcheks bought a six bedroom, Colonial-style home in Rye for $2.7 million in 1997. They also own a condo in Avon, Colorado.
In 2001, Altchek made an appearance in an ad campaign for Ralph Lauren's Purple Label. There's an easy explanation for that one: the billionaire fashion mogul is a longtime patient of Altchek's.