- The Magazine
A New York man was called an anti-gay slur and stabbed with an ice pick while riding the subway, one of five recent incidents that police claim are part of a spike in violent crimes taking place on New York City’s public transit system.
The 28-year-old victim was riding a northbound D train while heading home to the Bronx on Wednesday evening around 11:15 p.m. when a man sat down next to him. The victim, feeling uncomfortable moved to another seat, prompting the suspect to start cursing and yelling at him, according to police.
The suspect allegedly yelled, “You’re a f—-t,” to which the victim relied, “Suck my d–k.”
The suspect then stabbed the victim in the stomach with an ice pick, fleeing when the doors opened at the West 155th and Eighth Avenue station, according to the New York Post.
The victim exited the car at the next stop, the 161st Street-Yankee Stadium station, where he sought help from transit police.
The victim was taken to Lincoln Medical Center and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
That stabbing was followed five minutes later by another, in which an off-duty MTA conductor was slashed with a box cutter while riding a northbound J train by a man passing through train cars. The attack near the Crescent Street station in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. The conductor was stabbed in the left eye and ear as well as the forehead, and was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center for surgery, according to police.
Earlier in the day, around 9:20 a.m., a man pushed a 55-year-old woman to the ground and broke her phone inside the Fordham Road B/D station. The day prior, a 63-year-old man was knocked to the ground, beaten in the face, and robbed of his wallet, which contained $30. On Thursday, a rider was robbed on a northbound F train at the Broadway-Lafayette station, with the attacker brandishing an unspecified weapon.
Those five incidents are part of what critics say is a surge in violent attacks occurring on the city’s subway. The aunt of the MTA conductor slashed with the box cutter appeared in a video promoted by TWU Local 100, the union representing transit workers, on Twitter. In that video, Cassandra Sykes called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to “do something” about the violent attacks.
“Mr. Mayor, I am saying to you: It is not safe for the transit worker or the public to ride the train, buses and everything. This is not fair,” Sykes said. “We cannot keep living like this, day after day, worrying about our people that’s getting up, coming to work for you. Do something! Please, we are begging you. Please, do something.”
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the subway system, has also criticized the mayor, calling for more police officers in stations to stop crime. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), a conservative Democrat and longtime rival of de Blasio’s who never misses an opportunity to embarrass the progressive-minded mayor, piled on, saying: “I’m not telling my child to ride the subway, because I’m afraid for my child.”
In response, de Blasio has accused the MTA and Cuomo of “fear-mongering” and highlighting certain incidents to falsely portray the city’s public transit system as dangerous. He told radio host Brian Lehrer that the subways are “overwhelmingly safe,” and said the city has dispatched more than 600 additional cops to patrol the subways.
The introduction of those officers earlier this year resulted in a 12% drop in felony crimes from February to March. But the mayor’s critics say crime remains higher than it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What leaders should be doing is saying, ‘Hey, we can do this, and we’re going to make the difference,’ and they should be rooting for the city, and not trying to undermine the recovery for political reasons,” de Blasio told Lehrer, as reported by the New York Daily News. “It’s absolutely for political reasons — so let’s be clear about that.”
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