MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — As many New York City straphangers continue to abide by the unspoken rules of subway ridership, a recent unprovoked attack underscores the fact there are some situations – and suspects – you simply cannot prepare for.
That’s exactly what happened to a 61-year-old man who was sitting in his seat minding his own business on a southbound No. 1 train just after 9:30 p.m. Thursday, according to police.
Without warning, an unidentified suspect walked up to the man and struck him in the head and face with a screwdriver, then hopped off the train at the Columbus Circle station stop in Manhattan and ran off, police said.
The suspect is about 5 feet 9 inches tall and was wearing a black face mask and a black and red hoodie, according to police.
The victim is going to survive, but the suspect is still out there, putting subway riders such as Nick on high alert.
“I’m just more careful about my surroundings. Even when I have my headphones on, it’s very low,” said Nick, a Bronx resident.
The NYPD does not break down subway assaults between altercations and random unprovoked attacks. However, between Jan. 1 to Nov. 5 in 2022, there were 1,561 misdemeanor and felony subway assaults, compared to 1,814 in 2023, according to NYPD data. That translates to just over a 16% increase.
If there’s any positive news about the latest investigation, it’s the number of cameras now recording in the subway system.
“This incident was senseless and unacceptable,” the MTA said in a statement. “The NYPD has full cooperation from our transit security camera team and when the perpetrator is arrested, he should face aggressive prosecution delivering justice with consequences.”
“Especially as a woman, you think about it as well. Like traveling at night on the subway, if that’s something you want to be doing anymore. I think you have to think about that,” said Rachel, a Manhattan resident.