BUT my new 16-35mm Nikkor has gotten quite a coating blemish(s) from rough/carless use recently.
I'm wondering whether that lens is still under warranty and whether it had a coating problem from the factory that allowed it to get blemished from your "rough use". I'd talk to Nikon before sending it in and see if they're willing to replace it based on the serial number and batch.
The other thing I'm wondering is what you could have done to cause this. Knowing that might help out others here.