2019年12月18日 星期三

N.Y. Today: Student's Murder, Staged Kidnapping

What you need to know for Wednesday.

A Student’s Murder, a Staged Kidnapping

It’s Wednesday.

Weather: Look out for black ice this morning and possible snow this evening. Wind gusts could reach 35 miles per hour, and the wind chill could make it feel like the upper 20s at best.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Dec. 25 (Christmas).


Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

The grainy video showed a teenage girl walking with her mother on a quiet street in the Bronx. Then suddenly, two men jumped out of a sedan, pulled the girl in and drove away.

The footage, released by the police, circulated widely on social media and prompted an Amber Alert. It came less than a week after the fatal stabbing of an 18-year-old Barnard College student in a Manhattan park.

In the end, the abduction turned out to be a hoax.

Both incidents have rattled New Yorkers’ sense of security, even though this year is on pace to be one of the safest on record, statistically.


The Manhattan attack

The Barnard student, Tessa Majors, walked into Morningside Park, which is near the Barnard College and Columbia University campuses, last Wednesday after nightfall.

What happened next was pieced together by police investigators, who obtained video from the park, and from remarks made by a 13-year-old who is charged in the case. The Times is not naming the 13-year-old because he is not being charged as an adult.

The boy said two of his middle school classmates put Ms. Majors in a chokehold. They rifled through her pockets, and then she bit one of the boys’ fingers. One boy stabbed her in the torso during the struggle, the police said.


Feathers from her jacket fluttered to the ground. The boys fled. Ms. Majors staggered up a flight of stairs and was later was taken to a hospital, where she died.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Barnard campus on Thursday night to mourn Ms. Majors at an outdoor candlelight vigil and a memorial service indoors, according to a college spokeswoman.

The Bronx episode

Two men dragged the teenage girl into a car on Monday night, but by yesterday afternoon she had been reunited with her family. The kidnapping had been a hoax.

The girl later confessed to staging the scene because of her “overprotective” mother, an official said.

Abductions by strangers in New York State are rare. There was one in 2018 and none in 2017, according to an annual state report.

Abductions by family members are a little more common. Last year, 75 child abduction cases involving a family member or noncustodial parent were reported.

The majority of children who go missing in New York are runaways, according to the report. Last year, there were about 14,000 runaways in the state.

The year before, the number was 16,547.


Explore news from New York and around the region

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

City officials paid millions of dollars for a consultant’s report about public housing, twice. [The City]

Today is the deadline to submit an offer to buy a Civil War-era mansion for just $50,000. [New York Upstate]

A subway performance artist from Bushwick is running for Congress. [City and State]

Coming up today

An Evening With Muses” includes a live drawing presentation with models and artists at the Ace Hotel in Manhattan. 6 p.m. [Free with R.S.V.P.]

OOMPH! Press presents readings of poetry in translation at Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop. 7 p.m. [Free]

Join Tamon George and Joshua Kissi for a discussion and mixer in the Boundary Breakers series for creators of color at Ethel’s Club in Brooklyn. 6:30 p.m. [Free with R.S.V.P.]

— Melissa Guerrero

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.

And finally: The graffiti train

It was as colorful as it was rare: eight M train cars covered from floor to roof in graffiti, traveling along an elevated track in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Graffiti enthusiasts were amazed. New York officials were appalled.

The scale of the graffiti, reported by websites this week including Gothamist, harked back to the 1970s and ’80s, when vandalized subways were, for many, a symbol of New York City’s struggle against crime and disorder. Transit officials had long enforced a policy of removing graffitied trains from service; by 1989, they had declared victory against the illegal artwork.

Then came the episode in Brooklyn.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority told The Times that the vandalism “put an entire train out of service and will cost thousands of dollars to restore.” The agency was “fully cooperating with the N.Y.P.D., which is leading a criminal investigation into the matter,” according to the M.T.A. spokesman, Shams Tarek.

A police spokeswoman said that before the graffiti appeared, the train had been left in a tunnel rather than a train yard.

What is known is that some of the graffiti were a tribute to Lonny Woods and Matthew Rodriguez, two accomplished graffiti artists who recently died.

Mr. Woods, a Bronx native, went by the name Phase2 and helped shape the hip-hop scene in the 1970s. He took credit for introducing “arrows, loops, bubble or softie letters” to graffiti.

Bucky Turco, a chronicler of New York’s underground art and culture scene, has said that Mr. Woods also acted as an early graffiti historian.

Mr. Rodriguez’s tag was Zexor. His father was a graffiti writer known as ASP WTO.

In one mural, Mr. Rodriguez proclaimed: “I am NYC. I am Brooklyn. I am Bushwick. I am everything you hate and love! I am freedom. I am art! I am Zexor.”

It’s Wednesday — get elevated.

Metropolitan Diary: The Breakup

Dear Diary:

I had lived with my boyfriend on the Upper East Side for a year and a half. Our lives came crashing down one August evening when he confessed that he was in love with his best female friend. We fought and cried the entire night.

The next morning when I went to work, I got into the elevator with an older man I had never met before. My brokenness spilled out and, unable to ride in silence, I asked him, “What would you say to someone with a broken heart?”

He thought for a moment.

“Well,” he said, “the heart is strong. It will come back.”

He was right. I moved to Brooklyn, and a year later, it did.

— Ashleigh Hunt

New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. You can also find it at nytoday.com.

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