Time’s Up in Times Square

One of the great accomplishments of New York’s former law-and-order Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg was to rescue Times Square from the disgrace it had become and make it once again a vibrant place that people wanted to visit.

To the surprise of no one with sense, in two terms of crime-and-disorder Mayor Bill de Blasio, Times Square has descended back into the sewer. Nicole Gelinas has this article in the City Journal with the above title.

It was only a matter of time before a visitor was murdered in Times Square. That victim was Maria Ambrocio, a 58-year-old New Jersey cancer nurse who came to New York City on Friday to have lunch with a friend. Afterward, she and her friend were walking through the heart of New York when an alleged mugger, 26-year-old Jermaine Foster, running on foot after having just robbed one woman in her apartment and another woman on the street, slammed into Ambrocio at high speed, knocking her unconscious. She died on Saturday. “She’s gone,” her brother told the New York Post.

Ambrocio’s death wasn’t a freak accident—it was a predictable and preventable homicide. Times Square has been a mess for months. Last week, an illegally armed man accidentally shot himself while publicly urinating. The same day, a woman with a long record of similar violent, unprovoked assaults against other women shoved a stranger, another woman, into the side of a train, attempting (but failing) to kill her. In June, four muggers attacked yet another woman, stealing her phone. The same month, a 16-year-old boy allegedly shot a Marine, whom he didn’t know, in the back. In May, an illegal vendor with a violent history shot and wounded two women and a girl. Last November, a homeless man stabbed another man to death nearby.

I live just north of Times Square, and I avoid it. Friday afternoon, just an hour before Foster’s deadly crime spree, I went out of my way to steer clear of the area. Yes, I know that the chances of any one person being a victim of a violent crime are low. But the chances that someone will block my way and attempt to “sell” me a CD (read: try to scare me into giving him money); or that I’ll have to quicken my pace to avoid a deranged person screaming; or that I’ll see someone shooting up drugs; or that someone will make a crude comment—these are more likely than not, on any given trip. Going to Times Square isn’t worth it.

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