38-Year-Old Asian-American Man With His Family Punched in Central Park; Investigation Ongoing

Hernshead Outcrop. Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy.

By Carol Tannenhauser

A 38-year-old man, who preferred to go unnamed, was punched in the face by a stranger in Central Park last Saturday afternoon, while out with his wife and five-year-old son, he told abc7news on Thursday. He suffered two fractured bones in his check and a bloody nose. The man, who is Asian American, could not confirm that it was a hate crime, but he did say he believed his family had been “targeted.”

The incident took place at around 1 p.m. on the west side of the Lake near West 75th Street, where there is a large rock outcrop called Hernshead, popular for climbing and viewing the passing rowboats and ducks. The victim said he had noticed a man who “seemed out of place…pacing and muttering to himself.” The family “moved three times” to get away from him, but “he followed us,” the victim said, ultimately whispering something “sexual” to the woman, and cornering the family between the rock and the Lake.

“We should social distance,”  the husband said to the stranger, trying to defuse the situation. “You have a mask,” the stranger responded. “That’s an advantage. You guys always have an advantage.” And then he punched him, according to the interview.

The man went to Mt. Sinai hospital of his own accord. He stated that he felt it was important to speak out. The NYPD said the attacker fled in an unknown direction, and the investigation is ongoing.

You can see the entire interview here.

Thanks to Justin for the tip.

NEWS | 28 comments | permalink
    1. This appears to be an epidemic. There is no way to know if it is a new epidemic. Vigilante killing and police killing of black people didn’t start with Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael, Brown, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Ahmaud Aubry . . . George Floyd. What started was the attention these injustices deserve. It may be the same thing with anti-Asian hate crimes.

    2. AC says:

      Born and raised here in Manhattan, Upper West Side, for over 50 years, and there is one thing you don’t ever exhibit, and that’s FEAR. From my experiences, whenever someone near me starts acting crazy, I start acting even more crazier. Crazy is afraid of crazy. Sounds crazy, but it works!!

      Hope this creep gets caught!

    3. Jude says:

      So truly awful to hear of these continued assaults on anyone who looks Asian. And the incidents when there’s a child is present. Despicable.

    4. Hillary Gunderstein says:

      When in doubt, call 311

    5. UWS resident says:

      These attacks against Asian Americans in our city are real and frightening. Be vigilant, neighbors.

    6. UWS resident says:

      I really worry about the safety of my Asian American friends and colleagues.

    7. good humor says:

      “A bystander took a picture of the suspect and provided it to investigators.”

      We have delegated our safety to the police. There is no community.

    8. hoggie says:

      good people are not afraid of a description of a criminal

      only racists are

    9. concerned says:

      As an Asian-American who’s lived on the UWS for decades, this is both sad and terrifying. I used to brush off the occasional out-of-nowhere slur; now even a ride on the subway feels fraught. Blaming Trump only gets you so far; DeBlasio and Carranza were busy dehumanizing Asian students before Covid hit.

      • LK says:

        You are absolutely correct!

      • Janice says:

        You are correct. He started the attack about students attending our gifted learning programs. He must take responsibility for raising the temperature on an already volatile climate. This is nothing new.

    10. Uws Asian says:

      Over simplification: Though these hate crimes have their start in white supremacist/racism, it’s mixed into with regular racism as well. We need every community to be vigilant against any form of bigotry. Sadly there is a noticeable amount of AntiAsian crime from non white ppl too(the phrase “ That’s an advantage. You guys always have an advantage.” was telling)

    11. Janice says:

      This is scary and awful.

      NOBODY should be a victim of a hate crime and this epidemic of violence towards the Asian community must stop.

    12. UWS Dad says:

      Very sorry to hear about this. Without wanting to take the spotlight off attacks on people of Asian origin, I have been threatened on three occasions recently (once in Central Park, twice in midtown) by people who also “ seemed out of place…pacing and muttering”. Each one of those (a white male, a black male and a Latina female) made repeated threats to punch me in the face. Thankfully none of them did but I fear there is a mental health crisis in the city which should be a priority for whoever is the new mayor.

    13. Nico says:

      Still want to abolish the police?

      Seems emptying the prisons was a bad idea.

    14. Susan says:

      Clearly there is a need for more Police presence in and around the park. I’ve seen quite a few seemingly disturbed and disoriented guys muttering to themselves in the park and on Broadway. It doesn’t mean they’re criminals but you never know when they will act out. It would be great if they could be taken somewhere for real help and the rest of us, all of us, would feel safer. I agree with upper West side dad below, this is not only an anti-Asian crime, this is a mental health crisis.

    15. Sam Koo says:

      I don’t get this description or the title “Asian” so and so.
      Who is an Asian?
      I open my map again to see Asia, a vast continent.
      I see Israel to west and Japan to east.
      Russia to north and Indonesia to south.
      In between there are billions of Indians and Chinese.
      So who is this Asian?
      I don’t approve African American either. Just call it who he is. An American. There are so match history in Africa, from Egypt to Sahel to the Carthage.
      If not, you should say he is English white or German white or not sure white. All titles mostly degrading is centered around white. Before you discuss any discrimination and racism, please do away with the titles.
      Please just say a family of 3 was attacked, NYPD is investigating.

      • Élie says:

        Thank you Mr. Koo. I could not possibly agree more.

        • Concerned says:

          You can redo the globe while you’re at it. The term might be imperfect, but the fact is that to non-Asians, we all look alike, whether our roots are in China or the Philippines, Korea or Japan or Indonesia.

          We can get more granular if you like, but the troubling fact remains that “Asian Americans” are being harassed and attacked at a level greater than anything seen in the last half century or more.

          • Sam Koo says:

            You forget that,
            “ Asian New Yorkers (1.8 million) has more than doubled since 1990, and Asians accounted for 9 percent of the State’s population in 2014.”
            And you exaggerate when you say people cannot distinguish between Japanese and Pakistani or Saudi.

      • Nani says:

        Sam Koo, thank you for your educated comment. Yes, there is racism. I experienced it as a teenager in the 1980’s when my black roommate was constantly discriminated against and yes, sadly racism is still going on but there is no proof that this unfortunate family was targeted because they are “Asian” – the perpetrator clearly is a criminal with possibly a mental disorder. Nowadays the media quickly jump to conclusions if it fits the current narrative. Also, no “white” people are truly white- They come in different shades of pink and brown if they’re tan. I’m wishing the victim a speedy recovery and praying the perp will not just get caught but kept in jail!!!

      • Marianne says:

        Sam Koo I couldn’t agree more with you!!

      • Prashanth Nayak says:

        I disagree in that I would want as much profile information as possible about both the victims and the alleged attacker, but I don’t have a problem with your argument.

    16. Alessa says:

      This is as much a direct result of the stripping of police power and corresponding emboldening of criminals. We need the NYPD to feel empowered to protect our Asian and all neighbors and for criminals to know they have that power. Yes, police must be accountable and tremendous reform to training and screening is necessary, but look at the skyrocketing crime overall. It’s all brazen. They know the police, further now with no immunity as of last week, are extremely limited. My heart is with this family and all in fear.

    17. Park Walker says:

      Where is suspect’s photo? Police should provide it online, post the hard copies all over the park before he commits another crime again.

    18. EGF says:

      Physical traits of someone aren’t inherently racist when used in a benign and descriptive manner. You can’t just ignore the indisputable fact that people look different to each other. Hair color, eye shape, skin tone, height vary between people based on their genetic traits. Ignoring that and trying to see everyone as homogenous is actually racist. Just treat your fellow human with respect and decency for God’s sake. Why is that so difficult??