Four People Attacked on New York City Subways in 24 Hours as Mayor Touts Safety

Four people, including an MTA employee, were attacked in New York City's subway system Wednesday morning, all in unrelated incidents.

The first attack took place in the Times Square subway station. A 47-year-old MTA employee, Andrea Vasquez, was on duty early Wednesday morning when she was punched in the face, according to Transport Workers Union Local 100. She did not require medical attention, and her attacker fled down the platform.

The attacker, according to WABC, is described as a man in his 20s to 30s, 5 feet 8 inches tall and wearing dark clothing.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, in his daily briefing on Wednesday, said, "Any attack on an MTA worker is unacceptable."

According to Subway Surface Supervisors Association President Michael Carrube, the attack on Vasquez is one of many against transit workers over the past several years. In a statement Wednesday, he said, "How can the riding public expect to be safe if the essential workers who keep the city moving every day aren't safe? Enough is enough!"

The second attack Wednesday took place in Queens, as a woman on an F train was hit with a skateboard at around 8:45 a.m. An arrest was made quickly after the incident. Andres Gonzalez, 29, was charged with assault, according to WABC.

In the third attack, a man was sitting on a bench in the Times Square subway station at around 9 a.m. when he was slashed in the face. Police say the 35-year-old man had earbuds on when a stranger approached and began speaking to him, although he couldn't hear what the stranger man was saying.

According to police, the man removed his earbuds and asked, "Are you talking to me?" The attacker then spit on him and slashed the left side of his face with an unknown object before fleeing from the scene.

The victim was taken by medics to Mount Sinai West hospital, where he received stitches and is in stable condition, police said.

About an hour later in Brooklyn, a 60-year-old woman was stabbed in the back and slashed in her right shoulder during an argument on the Pennsylvania Avenue subway station, according to New York police (NYPD).

WNYW reported that the victim was taken to Brookdale University Hospital and is in stable condition. The suspect fled the scene.

Asked about the increase in violence on the subways, Mayor de Blasio said in his press briefing on Wednesday that the city will continue to make adjustments to the number of officers in the transit system.

"We are going to keep a strong presence in the subways. We are going to do all the things we need to do to bring the city back, and I really think there is a direct interconnection. The more people come back to the subways, the safer the city will get," he said.

"Pre-pandemic, one index crime per 1 million riders each day. We can get back to that, but we need to bring the city back. So this is a case where public safety and economic recovery, all the pieces come together," the mayor said.

Mayor De Blasio COVID-19 Update
Mayor Bill de Blasio updates New Yorkers on the city's response to the coronavirus epidemic on March 4, 2020. EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty

The mayor also said the city will increase efforts in mental health outreach and support for the homeless, but he added that the real answer is "we will bring back the life of the city. All the life of the city."

He continued, "We will use the NYPD wisely, and that will turn the situation around. It won't happen overnight because we are coming out of a massive, massive disruption, but it will happen."

Newsweek reached out to the NYPD for comment, but it only provided descriptions of each suspect.