walked along this secluded path from the restrooms on the Great Hill near W. 105th Street. Robberies in the park have nearly doubled from the same time last year. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.
The 26-year-old scribe from Brooklyn sought out a quiet spot in the iconic park to research a piece on finding secluded spots in the Big Apple when she was attacked and robbed, the victim told the Daily News Thursday.
The woman, who asked that her name not be used, was on a break from her job at a PR firm around 11 a.m. Wednesday and decided to swing by the park, she told The News.
“I was writing a story on silence, what the noise of the city does to us, and where to find silence,” said the writer, who was recovering at home Thursday.
While contemplating the bustle of life in the boroughs on a bench near W. 101st St., overlooking The Pool, the woman found the repose she hoped to write about, and walked along a secluded path to the restrooms on the Great Hill.
“There were nannies reading books and people jogging right next to it,” she said. “I thought, this is so peaceful.”
But walking back from the restroom on the same path, that calm was broken by a “muscular” 6-foot man who pounced on her and beat her, police said. The hulking attacker, a man between 35 and 40, continued punching her in the face even after she fell to the ground, cops said.
“I looked at him when he was walking … I thought this could be a very dangerous situation,” said the woman. “When he started screaming ‘Give me your purse’ and punching me in the face the first thing I thing I thought was, ‘So this is what it’s like to be beat up.’ ”
The mugger made off with just $1.60 in cash and two credit cards, which the woman canceled. He also got her Social Security card and her drivers permit, but overlooked her laptop and engagement ring, she said.
Police have stepped up patrols on the Great Hill after the attack on Wednesday morning. There have been at least 16 robberies in Central Park in 2015.walked south along a secluded path towards the Pool after using the restrooms on the Great Hill near W. 105th Street, above.
The woman, who is working on a journalism degree from New York University, suffered a black eye, bruising, and possibly a broken wrist, she said.
The attacker was still at large Thursday, police said. Robberies inside the park, which is policed by its own NYPD precinct, have nearly doubled so far this year compared with 2014, jumping from eight to 15 as of July 12, according to NYPD data.
Residents who live near the park said the attack has them rethinking their daily walks. “I’m not going to walk in the park, not anymore, I’m going to walk in the sidewalk,” said Sandrine Poaty, a construction estimator from Harlem.
But the recovering writer said she won’t let the attack keep her down — and it wouldn’t keep her from writing her story.
“It was a very ironic situation,” she said.
“Thank God he didn’t have a knife.”
New York Daily News - July 16, 2015 - By Tina Moore , Joseph Stepansky
WCBS - July 17, 2015 - By Ilana Gold