Woman Sucker-Punched Under 200 Amsterdam Avenue Scaffolding; Police Looking for 4 Men

A still image from surveillance video of the attack.

A woman walking under the scaffolding next to 200 Amsterdam Avenue at 69th Street was attacked from behind by a man whose accomplice then tried to grab her purse, according to police.

The 57-year-old woman was walking past the construction site at around 10:35 p.m. on Thursday when the man approached her from behind and hit her in the side of the face. She fell down and another man tried to rip her purse away from her, but she resisted. The men ran away. The attack fractured bones in the woman’s face.

Police released photos of the suspects. The first is the man suspected of punching the woman.

The second is the man suspected of grabbing the purse.

Police are also looking for two other men. One, shown below, is described as a male in his 20’s last seen wearing a blue jacket, black hoodie, and dark colored pants.

The other is described as a male in his 20’s last seen wearing Blue jeans, white sneakers, light blue jacket and blue hoodie.

NEWS | 50 comments | permalink
    1. Rikitikitok says:

      A friend previously told me about an encounter in this exact spot where she was pursued by a man but got away. This section is dangerous. I wonder if there have been other reported incidents? What can be done to make it less enclosed? I hope she is ok.

      • Mary-Claire Barton says:

        Brilliant sleuthing there, “D”; Will nominate you for the next Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys award! Really good thinking…Thanks!

    2. UWSHebrew says:

      four men against one woman. very brave.

    3. EC says:

      It’s really not clear to me how our elected officials could be anything but up in arms about the rapidly declining quality of life issues (and related crimes) enveloping our neighborhood.

    4. Concerned neighbor says:

      Looks more like women to me those first 2. This is very disturbing, there should be security there or they should open up that spot

    5. D says:

      Perhaps these suspects came from the McDonald’s at 2049 Broadway (between W. 70th & W. 71st Sts.); and the restaurant might provide additional surveillance footage for greater detail? Or perhaps a staff member at the counter or regular patrons may recall the suspects & have some insights? Post a flyer nearby? The suspect in the black hoodie & blue jacket is holding a tall McDonakd’s cup in his right hand; the cup shows the golden arches & a plastic cover with straw. The suspect in light denim pants & light jacket is holding a cell phone in his right hand and what may be a MrcDonald’s slushie beverage or shake in his left hand. It may be worth seeing what McDonakd’s provides for surveillance footage and/or getting their insights.

      • ben says:

        nice catch, internet sherlock holmes!

      • Randie Levine-Miller says:

        brilliant thought! you’re no clousseau lol
        kudos to you… i think 2 of the suspects are women…just saying..

        • M says:

          Surprised that these are the best photos available. Perhaps the neighboring synagogue, Rite Aid, and Ehrlich’s liquor store, as well as the McDonald’s as D noted, would have clearer video.

    6. Backtothe80s says:

      I think it’s time for the precinct to tell us what they’ve been doing to stop the increase in crime on the UWS. Just a week ago another woman, an 85yo, was thrown on the ground and robbed some 5 blocks away from this location, at 74th st. Is this becoming the new normal here? Not to mention the scores of homeless people lurking around, many of which with clear mental issues. I don’t feel safe here anymore and doubt I’m the only one

    7. Marianne says:

      I’ve been mugged walking in an enclosed scaffolding construction site such as the one at 200 Amsterdam. They are completely unsafe because no one on the street can see you. I hope they catch these hooligans; it’s not a great feeling to think you can be punched and robbed. Find them soon!

    8. CCL says:

      Just another reason to get rid of the scourge of scaffolding blighting every block in the neighborhood.

      The huge apparatus at the San Remo is horrible. But, they do roust homeless people quickly who try to set up housekeeping under it.

    9. ben says:

      That stretch of scaffolding is literally the worst. Sharp 90 degree corners at the entrances on both ends with huge blind spots for people either to hide intentionally or simply walk into. You are completely walled in while taking that path and every time I walk it I couldnt help but thinking someone was going to fall victim to muggings in here.

    10. Diane says:

      I live in the neighborhood and have frequently used that passageway. No longer. Sadly, I’d rather take my chances getting hit by a car on Amsterdam Avenue….at least it’ll be in full public view.

      I hope this woman is OK and I’m extremely anxious that these fiends are caught and harshly punished.

    11. Donna says:

      I just walled through there last night at about 1015p. No more. The shortcut is not worth the anxiety. It was deserted on a Saturday night. The builder should be required to supply security. The Lincoln Towers booth is obviously not sufficient.

    12. Catherine says:

      The police should be in touch with the developers of 200 Amsterdam – their sales office is right across the street. Perhaps they can light it better? He hit her really hard. I make it a point never to walk under scaffolding if I am out at night and coming home late.

    13. EricUWSNYC says:

      There should be a tinted-window police booth between 70th & 71st Sts., by McDonald’s as a preventive measure. Whenever I walk by that block, there are loud, obnoxious young people loitering (homeless too). I’m pretty sure crime would be reduced significantly just by the presence of such a booth. For a more long-term solution, it would make a lot of sense for both McDonald’s and the 99 cents pizza place next door to be denied lease renewals.

      • dc says:

        That, and area between 70th and 71st with McDonalds, the pizza place, etc. is increasingly problematic…was menaced by some guy last week. It’s getting out of hand. I suggest everyone contact Helen Rosenthal and also attend the 20th precinct public meeting on 10/28.

      • Sherman says:

        First of all, the pizzeria is not “99 cents”.

        Second, it is not the responsibility of McDonald’s and Little Italy Pizza to keep the sidewalks safe. This is the responsibility of the NYPD and our (ineffective) mayor and local politicians.

        Third, do you honestly believe that this stretch would be safer if businesses were kicked out and the street was desolate?

        All this said, it is reprehensible that the developer does not provide better 24 hour security at this construction site.

    14. Janice says:

      This is very stressful to hear about. And I hear it’s happening more and more.

      I hope they find/arrest these guys and they do hard time in jail.

    15. Upper West Side- Save Our Stores says:

      SHEDS and SCAFFOLDS are there for our safety–until they’re NOT!
      Call 311 AND your local City Council member if there’s a block or site that you feel is particularly unsafe because of sheds and scaffolding!
      Also, ASK YOUR LEGISLATOR to WORK TO STIFFEN CURRENT REQUIREMENTS that regulate passageways. Right now, the law passively reads that “passageways must be lit by natural or artificial light at all times”–without stipulating how much light. And how about a regulation that stipulates passageways must be viewable from the street, and not be fully enclosed?

    16. joe cee says:

      The billionaire builders who are constructing that monstrosity should be liable. A security person should be scheduled under that scaffolding full time at their expense.

      • sg says:

        Everyone is to blame, but the individuals who did the crime…what b@#$sh@t! And I don’t care how “disadvantaged” they purport to be…this is savage behavior!

    17. M. Kaye says:

      This frightening scenario has long been coming.There’s been no night time security personnel in this isolated, dark-ish and long
      tunnel for months. Carting home groceries through it in the evening, with no alarm system, no mid-tunnel escape route, no stores to duck into (it’s amazing that Rite-Aid
      survives, is negligent. Besides being intrusive, this isolated death-walk is an
      assault on all who must pass through it,
      whether from airborne particles during blasting, damagingly loud noise during blasting, and providing opportunities for quick attack-and-run assaults and thefts is
      further insult to the once-peaceful neighborhood.

    18. Cato says:

      I know that there are constitutional and probably philosophical objections, but put those aside for a moment and just think about this from a practical perspective:

      If there were no “hoodies”, and security cameras could capture more recognizable images, these lovely people might think twice about ganging up four on one woman.

      How much of their willingness to do this came from the security they felt in hiding inside their hoodies?

      If the City can ban people from wearing masks on the street, why can it not also ban people from wearing identity-concealing hoods — perhaps with an exception for weather making such clothing appropriate?

      What freedom are we protecting here at the expense of citizens being able to walk the streets in safety?

      • EricaC says:

        Are you really suggesting that we outlaw hoodies? Should we also outlaw balaclavas, scarves, floppy hats, surgical masks, cowels, turtlenecks, and any other clothing that can obscure the face?

        • Cato says:

          Why not? Wouldn’t you like to know who these evil people are?

          Please tell me the benefit society gets — that you and I get — from allowing criminals like this to wear “balaclavas, scarves, floppy hats, surgical masks, cowels, turtlenecks, and any other clothing that can obscure the face” when the weather doesn’t warrant it?

          (Note how I opened my original comment — I knew the Upper West Side would never tolerate putting restrictions on bad people like these. But can you really complain about it if you won’t do anything to prevent it?)

          • EricaC says:

            Not much benefit from letting criminals do it, but a lot of people get warmth and comfort from it. If we knew who criminals are before they committed crimes, that would be great – but that movie hasn’t become reality yet.

      • C says:

        @Cato — Do you also want to ban fedoras and other wide-brimmmed hats that can be pulled down to conceal one’s features? How about silk scarves? Sunglasses?

    19. Concerned says:

      This happened to me last winter in the exact same spot. These two men first asked for my money. When I looked shocked they said they had a gun. A quickly walked past them scared to death but luckily unhurt. I called the precinct and the female who answered said there was nothing to be done-no crime and they were just “panhandlers”. I re- iterarated about the gun but she did nothing. I said if something happened it was on her hands.

    20. Jan says:

      i think the huge tour (etc) buses should not be allowed to be parked on our streets b/c when i walk by them i’m aware that nobody can see me from the other side of the street. it’s dangerous.

    21. Robin says:

      huge buses should not park on city streets because nobody can be seen walking from the other side of the street

    22. Sasha C says:

      First two actually look like females. The face on the puncher, and the outline frontal outline on the second jacket, pulling the bag. But not sure it’s a little fuzzy. They’ll probably change their jackets but I have a feeling they won’t change the footwear. Because they’re new and pristine. IT may be the only way to match people up, now. It’s so sad what’s happening again. The police should go question the sales people at 72 West, the sneaker store next to Tip Top on West 72nd. I would say they might look familiar to them.

    23. Backtothe80s says:

      Let’s all show up at the 20th precinct’s monthly meeting next Monday Oct 28 at 7pm and express our concerns loudly. Police presence is not felt in the neighborhood and creeps are quickly occupying the space. This must stop. Please show up and support our neighborhood before it’s too late. NYPD must act and stop hiding behind their desks playing politics with De Blasio

    24. Mel Stone says:

      It’s important that construction companies are accountable for installing cameras when putting up scaffolding. The entire 97th streets between Amsterdam and Columbus has scaffolding Cameras are needed.

    25. Vince says:

      No mercy if I had been there…I live in this area.

    26. ST says:

      No cops on the beat so no prophylactic policing.
      Policing is strictly post event via camera now. All police resources are taken up with special events and anti terrorism. Regular citizens are on their own.

    27. Ben David says:

      Despite a desire by NYPD to do their job, the mayor and the city council are more concerned with closing down jails, eliminating arrests, and letting everyone know that it is ok to urinate in the streets and jump over turnstiles. Crime is UP on the UWS, and you can see this very clearly if you review the statistics without bias. We need to challenge the NYPD so that the precinct cops can challenge their commanders.
      Shoplifting? Don’t even bother reporting it – they wont’t let you! Hassled by homeless with violence? Sorry, that is not a crime! I
      If we keep voting for the same people, we will keep getting the same results!

      • EricaC says:

        They want to close Rikers because it is an out of control pit of abuse. People who have not been convicted are harmed there. They can’t even keep track of the prisoners. I am concerned that the alternative will not be better, but Rikers is a disaster.

    28. NYCAussie says:

      I’ve been living in this area for several years and am dismayed at how it has deteriorated from a perceived safety perspective. The area near McDonalds is turning into Crackhouse Corner. The construction walkway is terribly designed because the turns at either end mean someone could be lurking as you come out and you’d never see them. Several areas in the neighborhood are also badly lit.

    29. uwsneighbor says:

      I am always wary of anyone wearing a hoodie for these reasons. It is not that cold out that you need a hat or hood yet. Is this profiling? You bet, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Don’t wear a hoodie if you don’t want people to “ assume” you are trouble.

    30. Marci says:

      My husband and I found ourselves walking through this spot without much thought. Then I realized it was the same place this crime took place. No one should walk through there, especially alone. No one can see you from the street and it’s the perfect environment for an assault.

    31. Joanne Silverman says:

      Oh, they will be caught, arrested, plea deal down to lesser charges,and go home with a sore wrist from being slapped (probably again).

    32. J.P. says:

      he’s holding a beverage maybe from a pizzeria close by? maybe check all the restaurants near the area for footage? horrible just horrible!!