By Carol Tannenhauser
Another sucker-punching incident occurred on Wednesday on Central Park West and West 66th Street, this time involving a tourist.
The victim was a 17-year-old young man visiting the city from Nashville, Tennessee, with his parents. They were walking into Central Park at around 12:30pm when an “unknown assailant punched the boy in the face and fled east on West 65th Street,” a police spokesperson said. The boy was knocked to the ground, suffering bruises and a bloody nose. He was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital for treatment, according to the New York Post.
Many passersby stepped in to help, the Post reported. The boy’s mother said she was “impressed because aside from the one seemingly mentally ill person who punched my kid, every other person we’ve encountered — everyone — has been just amazingly nice.”
Was the assailant mentally ill? Not necessarily, Michael Alcazar, a retired NYPD detective and an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice told the Post in August. “It’s not only the mentally ill who are committing these assaults,” he said. “There are individuals who are angry, bored and brazen, who know they are not going to be prosecuted.”
Alcazar said there is also “an insidious ‘game,’ a sicko street challenge where thugs attempt to render an unsuspecting innocent unconscious with a single blow….We have to keep our heads on a swivel,” he advised.
While the NYPD told the Post “it doesn’t track such ‘knockout’-type assaults specifically, this year , there have been close to 20 ‘sucker-punch’ incidents [across the city].”
Actor Rick Moranis suffered a well-publicized sucker punch on CPW and 70th Street in October 2020. His assailant was arrested the following month.