A runner in Central Park. Photo by Cyndi Sue.

By Hannah Reale

A 45-year-old woman was robbed at 66th street and Central Drive around 5 a.m. Monday, police said.

According to the NYPD’s press office, she was on an early run when a man came up from behind her, put her in a choke hold, and threw her to the ground. He took her iPhone and she grabbed onto his shirt. He threatened to kill her, punched her in the face, wriggled out of his shirt, and ran off.

The robber was a black male in his late teens, approximately 5′ 5″ with short curly hair. He was last seen in shorts—and no shirt—running southbound along Central Drive.

When authorities arrived, the woman refused medical assistance.
A couple of years ago we wrote about the uneasiness some women feel when running alone in Central Park.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 28 comments | permalink
    1. Mary Jones says:

      Central Park open 6am – 1am. The park was closed, no one is supposed to be there

      • Smithe says:

        Stating the obvious is nothing more than a masked attempt at covering what you’d really like to say. So why don’t you just come out and say it Mary Jones? Something along the lines of “you were in the park when you shouldn’t have been so whatever happened to you was your own fault.”

        • UWSHebrew says:

          I’ll take that stance Smithe. It WAS her own fault. Sorry, this is not the 1950’s. My father RIP was born and raised in the Bronx and he said people did not lock their doors and kids of all ages played outside all day until it was dark and no one was kidnapped or molested. Very, very little street crime. The Bronx.

      • MQue says:

        PArk has plenty of people at 5am during the summer

    2. AC says:

      Running ‘inside’ the park itself (walking paths, bridle paths, or anywhere where trees or obstructions hinder one’s view) is a BIG No No, especially at 5 am. I’m an avid runner and have always found it much safer running on the ‘Park Drive’ (the wide and open three lane road). Running without headphones is a plus, as it allows you to hear pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

      Glad to hear she’s alright.

    3. grandmasterbeta says:

      Don’t wear headphones at 5am and make it easy for someone to sneak up on you. Be aware of your surroundings.

    4. D says:

      Nice victim blaming, commenters. And AC, Central Drive IS the ‘Park Drive’ down there, so no, she couldn’t have avoided it by staying on the main road. Because she *was* on the main road.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        It’s called reality. This is not suburbia. There are people who look at women as targets to be robbed and raped, because they are the physically weaker sex. Same with the elderly.

        • GG says:

          Sometimes I like to put on all of my jewelry and go to the worst area in the south Bronx at around 3am or 4am for a leisurely walk.

          I don’t sleep well and it helps to clear my head. I also find this a convenient time for me to do all of my banking, usually at ATM machines located in poorly lit back alleys.

          That’s my right, man. Don’t victim blame me. Also, that’s racist…I’m not sure how, but I’m sure it’s in there somewhere.:)

        • Bryan says:

          An ex-girlfriend was tackled in a suburban park and had gun pointed at her demanding money. The guy was stunned when she said she had no money on her as she doesn’t need it when running. He let her go as his intent wasn’t to hurt her.

          And last summer 3 women runners were murdered in suburbia in a span of 9 days:


          • UWSHebrew says:

            all you are doing is proving that even suburbia is not suburbia anymore…but big cities are still many times more dangerous and you have to think with your brain, not your heart “how you want society to be”

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            actually, the crime rate on the UWS is probably less per capita than many NYC suburbs.

    5. Mary says:

      The park is a secluded area with lots of places to hide. I wish this woman a well recovery, this should have never happened. Being pragmatic however would be to state the honest truth which is large parks in big cities are dangerous. The earlier/later the hours in the park you’re there increase your chances of being a victim of crime more, it’s just how it’s always been in New York.

    6. John says:

      Tons of Homeless in this area counted 13 this morning at 5am on my way to work. Any women is a target at this time in the morning

      • Mark says:

        Not so fast, lumping the homeless into a problem such as this is destructive and not helping anything. Capitalizing on an issue like this to vent about displeasure at seeing homeless people around is a terrible thing to do.

      • Mark says:

        I agree with you John.

    7. Scott says:

      I would imagine that shirt she managed to pull off has some DNA on it. Shouldn’t be long before mugger boy is arrested, assuming Cy Vance hasn’t yet decriminalized mugging, along with everything else.

    8. jimbo says:

      I do not know when people will learn–5am is MUCH too early for a female to run in the park ALONE.Hey,Hey LET’S BE CAREFUL OUT THERE.

    9. Paris Wyome says:

      When I lived on W 69 St. near Central Park West many years ago, an early morning woman jogger was attacked and killed. They found the killer. Why anyone, man or woman, wants to run or even walk so early almost in the dark alone is beyond me. Find another way to keep in shape. Adjust your work/exercise routine, get a running buddy, or start a running club. Is your life worth doing something very risky? Will your life be improved really by running so early?

    10. Walking my 2 Doberman Pinchers at that time I am really angry that we were not there to intervene. Terrible. This stuff needs to end.

    11. Minx says:

      5am is not that early to be running in the park in the summer as its light out, and if you have a job/kids etc for many it is the only time to get out and be active. Central Park drive is not secluded or hidden – its about the most open place to be in the park except in the middle of sheeps meadow.

      The victim blaming on this article is unbelievable – how you could blame this woman for her attack is beyond me, how about deploring the attacker (who was also in the park when he wasn’t supposed to be…) and reinforcing the novel ideal that people should be able to live and go about their day without fear of being a target for attack – and from many articles on here I know you can be attacked at any time of the day.

      I wish this woman a speedy recovery and to those that victim blamed, I hope you are never in an incident where people are as callous as you were to this woman.

      • Ann says:

        Too much victim blaming here . It’s summer folks! It’s light out. Some people work early hours and run before

        She was running at what should be a safe place. The cops need to be parading in Central
        Park .. keeping us safe. The park is alive very early with tons of dog walkers.. there is no reason the cops should not be driving around keeping us Safe

        Whdh the orange fanfic cristos were hanging there :: there were tons of cops protecting the huge art display ..

        How about us??? I wish her a great recovery .. have some compasion people .. responsibility is with the city to keep us safe. I have seen less police cars for us, way too many bikes on the walking paths and the speed of bikes, and their not stopping for pedestrians is appalling

        Sad ..

    12. NJFEDS says:

      Hey, it’s just the way it is. Lots of runners out then. When you consider the size of this city it is really pretty safe but I am a woman who would not go alone in the park at that hour. It’s DARK and the risks are too great. Find some friends. Also I get pepper spray on EBAY and it is small and easy to use and I carry it ready to spray but you have to be prepared to use it fast. Sad though that we are always at risk as women. Better go see Wonder Woman again. Need a boost.

    13. Geno says:

      Just as sure as when you see a YouTube video involving black people you know you will see a bunch of vile, racist comments below it, or when that video concerns anything involving Jews, that you will see horrible anti-Semitism expressed below it, you know that when West Side Rag runs a story about somebody attacked in Central Park, you will see an idiotic debate about whether the person should’ve been in the park or not, whether there is too much victim blaming going on or not enough. Instead, there’s more value in talking about attacking the root of the problem here, which is that our society has some very bad apples because of a widening income gap, social injustice, a lack of attention to education, continued devaluation of teachers, mismnagement of the school system, a and frankly a mayor who has such poor relations with police that criminals feel emboldened to commit crimes, Our city and our country have a lot of work to do; we elected an incompetent imbecile as our president and we have no one but ourselves to blame. We need to be smarter.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        ah yes, its because of ” widening income gap” and “social injustice” that the “black male in his late teens” just had to “put her in a choke hold”, “threatened to kill her” and “punched her in the face”. YOU LIBERALS MAKE ME SICK.

    14. Karen Bruno says:

      I used to run in the park at 5:00 am but I had my dog and a knife!