As subway service expands once again to 24-hours, safety underground continues to be a growing fear, with three more riders attacks Sunday morning, according to police.
The first happened at 5:30 a.m. on a northbound No. 6 train at Bleecker Street, where 41-year-old man was attacked and robbed of his cellphone, officials said. One man yelled “what are you looking at me [for],” then another man punched him in the face.
On a southbound F train at around 8:30 a.m., a 40-year-old man was robbed at gunpoint by three men as the train approached Jay Street. The suspects stole his cellphone and money, though the man was not injured, officials said.
Later, a 70-year-old woman punched a 56-year-old woman in an unprovoked attack at 14th Street-Union Square. The victim’s face was bruised and cut, though she refused medical attention. The suspect was arrested and charged with assault; officers identified the woman as Tammy Lang.
The city’s subway system has been long celebrated for its all-night service. But in an unprecedented move in May 2020, subway service was shut down nightly between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to allow transit workers and cleaning crews to disinfect trains and stations as COVID ravaged New York City.
Cuomo and Metropolitan Transportation Authority leadership announced in February that around-the-clock subway service would be gradually restored, beginning with a smaller shutdown window of 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., as a second wave of COVID cases and hospitalizations began to ebb.
Earlier in May, Cuomo announced the overnight closures would end on Monday, May 17. The final 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. closure occurred on Sunday and 24/7 service was restored when trains and stations reopened, MTA Chairman Pat Foye said.
The governor has vowed that the cleanliness of trains and stations would remain a priority after full service is restored.
MTA officials have been calling on the NYPD to send another 600 officers into the subway system amid an ongoing surge in violent crimes underground.
“We need real action, immediate action,” Foye said.
For months, the MTA and the transit workers’ union have been asking the city to do more to fix the problem. Hundreds more police officers were deployed to the transit system in February but incidents continued to happen with violent assaults on riders and workers.
A union leader for MTA workers called on the mayor to step up or resign.
“He’s got blood on his hands,” he said, following a series of Friday morning attacks that injured five people, many of them slashed.
In a recent Democratic mayoral debate, candidates Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Ray McGuire and Andrew Yang said they would put more police into the subway to deal with recent upticks in crime if elected; Maya Wiley said she felt more mental health professionals should be sent into the subway system.
PIX11’s Kristine Garcia contributed.