By Carol Tannenhauser
Maria Danzilo — who ran for New York State Senate last year on an anti-crime platform, gaining 27% of the vote against incumbent Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal in the Democratic primary — was sucker punched in the arm by a stranger on Wednesday at around 2:25 pm, as she was exiting Central Park near West 81st Street.
“I was about 20 feet east of the Diana Ross playground heading west,” Danzilo told the Rag by text on Thursday. “The attacker was walking east toward me. I had a gut feeling a few seconds before he hit me that he might be dangerous and I must have raised my arm and turned slightly away, as he lunged toward me and punched me hard on my upper arm. I believe he was aiming for my face. I yelled at him as he walked away, something like “you can’t hit women.” When he turned around to look back at me l was nervous, so l didn’t say anything else. He had a vacant look on his face and walked away nonchalantly.”
Danzilo called 911. Police have confirmed that a woman was assaulted in Central Park where she described.
Danzilo suffered bruising to her arm, but refused medical attention, and by Thursday said, “I am physically ok but upset.”
She was in the Rag recently for leading a protest against the safe haven that is coming to West 83rd Street in April.
Do we have a description other than a vacant look on his face?
I gave a full description to NYPD along with a photo taken of the attacker from the back as he walked away. Photo and article in Post today and Daily News yesterday. It was a very upsetting experience and I hope by reporting it the police would apprehend this attacker before he hurt other women. NYPD told me several people called 911 beside myself as he appeared dangerous.
I need to respectfully ask the question of whether we should believe this allegation given this person’s political motivations.
Remember, this is the same resident who grabbed headlines a few years ago by talking about seeing naked men wandering our neighborhood.
And last week demonstrating against helping homeless fellow citizens.
Thanks for considering.
Your question is anything but respectful. We have all heard of many people being sucker-punched. Why would you doubt her veracity when there was a police report and witnesses who took photos? Because of her politics? Because she is a woman? Either reason is unacceptable.
let me ask you a respectful question. Is it merely a pure coincidence that the police confirmed that a woman was assaulted in Central Park where she was assaulted or are you insinuating that she filed a false police report?
I have been the target of Ms Danzillo’s harsh words, but take everything she says at face value. If she says she was attacked, I believe her and empathize.
Suggesting otherwise diminishes all of us , as well as the process of public discourse.
Let’s be better than this.
Maria Danzilo lives by the truth and only speaks the truth. Complete opposite of Gale Brewer and CB7 and their pals in the homeless industrial complex of theives who make 6-figure salaries and have no intention of actually helping the homeless or mentally ill. If the homeless problem was resolved, they would all be out of jobs. Maria like me is a native New Yorker who loves this city and neighborhood and is fighting to stop those who are out to destroy it and force all the tax paying law abiding people out. In other words, you are dead wrong about Maria!
@Calvin What a ridiculous thing to say. I personally have seen more male genitalia on public display in NYC streets, sidewalks, parks, subways than I care to count or recall. Thanks for resurfacing those repressed unwanted memories. And thanks for your mysogyny, it motivates the rest of us to keep fighting for a more representative government and safer society.
What happened to Maria unfortunately could happen to anyone these days.
Maria, I’m sorry for the Calvins and I’m sorry you were attacked. I hope you can heal. The psychological effects linger long after the physical ones.
From someone who was there re the naked man, it’s absolutely true but go on and continue to victim shame
This question is anything but respectful.
Shame on you for casting aspersions.
I guess your virtue signaling blinds you to the fact that the very reason for her protests & community activism (unsafe streets) came full circle as an assault.
A normal person would say “Maria of ALL ppl?!? A woman worried about UWS safety, is attacked”
But you? Victim shame in a desperate attempt to deflect from the real issue.
Women are not safe.
Wow. Yet i bet you are someone who normally says women should be believed! Yet now you question a violent attack with photo evidence. She is a well respected member of the community. You clearly aren’t.
Oh look, a man dismissing a woman’s story of being attacked. How novel.
^^^Exactly circa ‘1940’s. I thought the Blame the Victim paradigm was obsolete.
I hope that Maria does not suffer PTSD from the negative comments made on this forum!
PTSD is not only a diagnosis for war veterans. It is for anyone who FEELS traumatized by external events that foster internal distress.
I offer my sentiments of empathy and gratitude to Maria for her courage to help make the UWS a safer space…. for all.
How do you respectfully ask a disrespectful question ??
Wow. You are scary. The woke echo chamber of the UWS can’t stand the moderates (remember, compared to the rest of America she is a left-of-center moderate, not a Republican) challenging them. So they accuse an older woman of making up being punched to achieve her goal of getting a relatively low level political position.
All of the virtue signaling activists continue to act like nothing bad happened in our neighborhood in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. You sound like Trump. Claiming there was some grand conspiracy. There were people exposing themselves all over the place, going to the bathroom in the street, passed out drunk. I’m glad you weren’t exposed to this. It happened.
Clowns to the left of us. Jokers to the right. The rational folks in the middle are getting crowded out.
Most importantly, I am sorry she experienced this and hope she is OK.
Sigh. Please, in the middle of a well-written and totally legitimate comment, there’s no need to throw in the Fox News-bait word “woke.” It’s meaningless in this context.
I consider myself a person of left of center views and I think being “woke” is a good thing. I also disagree with Ms Danzilo on political matters. But what happened to her should not be dismissed and I wish her well as a human being. It’s not helpful to lump someone who raises dumb questions with those of us who disagree with Ms Danzillo.
What a terrible take. I guess when you are blinded by flawed ideology critical thinking is lost
I have my criticisms of Maria Danzilo but the fact that there are political progressives who can doubt her story is sick and shows that they aren’t in it for community, just power. Why do I say that, because when it comes to other assault victims where the victims are people that fit their political narrative, they must be believed at all times even if it turns out that they lied later.
Mid week on a sunny spring day. There should’ve been many witnesses near CPW, no? If the perp walked eastbound into CP, it would’ve been fairly easy to follow and/or call for help from a safe distance and for the police to apprehend the attacker. Were there more details from the police report?
This is really shameful that you would write such a statement. I guess nothing really ever changes, “her skirt was too short”, “she shouldn’t have been walking at night”…,
The list goes on and on. Blaming the victim
Some things should NEVER be normalized – including victim blaming.
Considered and dismissed.
Naked people doing unspeakable acts around the neighborhood is an actual verifiable fact. I’ve witnessed it, too.
“Grabbing headlines” is the media’s doing. Consider that.
You really want to go with victim blaming and questioning someone’s credibility based on their taking a political or civil stance? Quite hypocritical.
God bless Maria and I pray she heals emotionally, physically and stays strong as she is our best advocate for safety.
And Gale Brewer just tweeted she is SO HAPPY and PROUD to be putting another shelter/supportive housing rehab in our neighborhood on West 107th street.
As I have said, there will be 3 shelters per block the longer Gale Brewer and her cohorts remain in office. Our future is doomed. Will people please vote and support ANYONE running against those in office now? And please tell everyone to VOTE. Do not forget these times in June and November.
I’ve been voting against these politicians who ruined this city all along. I’ll be dead before there is a changing of the guards. Maria fights to make the UWS safe again. It may be too late.
This is one party rule. You like it like this, live with the consequences
Look into http://www.finalfivevoting.com
We need open primaries
I am an Independent and certainly did NOT vote for ANY of the elected officials currently in office. I vote common sense and truly wish others would too.
I totally believe Ms. Danzilo. I have witnessed similar, more than once.
I have seen a homeless man (a regular around the neighborhood) carrying a bag of possessions approach and threaten a woman pushing a baby carriage with a baby inside, and scream that he was going to “Kill that White woman!”
I yelled at him so that he would follow me, instead of her, allowing her and the baby to get away.
THIS is what we live with on a daily basis, and why we do not want any more homeless shelters, ‘transitional’ housing, halfway houses, or SRO facilities.
This is exactly why we need supportive housing… or do you think sleeping on the streets will improve their mental health?
Thank you for your efforts, service and activism to keep our neighborhood safe. Thank you for your full on support while we are trying to do the same. I am terribly sorry about what happened, and about the fact that you were the victim of yet another act of violence in our neighborhood. Best wishes for a full recovery from this traumatic event.
Yesterday morning as I made my way to the subway stop there was a half naked male looking completely disoriented, standing at the entry way. It happens all the time.
Top or bottom, makes a big legal difference.
Sincere sympathies to Maria Danzilo, one of the few public figures actually talking about the changes that have been happening to our neighborhood in the past few years.
Alvin Bragg is only interested in protecting New Yorkers from Donald Trump. So good luck.
This is very believable and terrible. I was almost punched on 84th and Lexington a few months ago in broad daylight. The woman was definitely mentally disturbed, and i saw it coming and was able to duck her punch. What is more scary is the article on the bike thefts w/ GUNS just on 62nd and West End!! There are so many schools right there. What if this had been a student?! We need more done. If we want such strict gun laws in this city, why are we not increasing the punishment on illegal guns?? I asked a police officer about this and he said that gangs give guns to their younger (minor) members so that they do not get a harshly punished. We need to stop this cycle! Guns are a problem, but illegal guns are even worse. This is NOT OK. Please vote for our safety, I’m so sick of all of this!
Yes, there are naked people walking around NYC. This past Sunday I was on the #104 bus heading downtown, when a man tried to board who was wearing an open coat with nothing underneath except shoes and socks. Driver to man, politely but firmly: I’m sorry, Sir, but you cannot get on the bus without clothes. Man: I’m wearing a coat! Driver: You need to have clothes under your coat. Man got off the bus.
The UWS continues to get worse and worse. You can’t stop and text someone for 5 minutes without being harassed. You are constantly approached while walking by people purposely blocking your way and aggressively asking for money. These are menacing and bordering on criminal actions. Sometimes they turn into assaults. Some are targeted attacks. Some are just random.
Stop bringing criminals into our neighborhood. We have enough.
I have no issue believing Ms. Danzilo, and feel bad about what happened to her. What I DO have an issue with is her attempt – not here, but elsewhere – to “connect” her attack to her protest of the Safe Haven facility; not that she was attacked BECAUSE of that protest, but the implication that having the Safe Haven will somehow make this type of attack even more common. Needless to say, she cannot possibly know that, and her attempt to cast aspersions on the potential residents of that building in that way is at best presumptive, and at worst denigrating and mean-spirited.
What María experienced is on the mind of every family I know on the UWS. I’ve lived here for 27 years and this is the most unsafe I’ve felt for myself and my family. Let’s vote out the lawmakers who refuse to be tough on crime and lawlessness. It’s not mutually exclusive to be tough on crime and yet remain empathetic to broader social issues. Presenting things as an either or is a false choice.
Salil, your feelings are genuine and accurately reflect the changing nature of the UWS. Have lived here forty years, and this is the “most unsafe” I too have felt. Thank you for giving voice to issues of rising crime and the conflict many feel in our desire to be empathetic however, political and societal transformation feels hopeless.
It’s refreshing to see a democrat who recognizes that Crime is a huge problem that needs to be addressed. How come others in the party cannot see this and continue to fail to address it.?
Maria, sad that such a lovely person, who cherishes our special neighborhood, had to endure this assault. Unfortunately, this has become a more common occurrence throughout the city and in our community. Sad and upset for you and so many others. …..but not hopeless for change because of you!
Why am I reading about this being called harassment? This was an assault.