Man Stabbed to Death in Chelsea Despite Beefed-Up Police Presence
The 28-year-old victim, whose identity was not immediately released, was stabbed in the stomach at 2 a.m. outside The Erotica on Eighth Avenue at West 27th Street.
He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the NYPD said.
No one was been arrested.
Witnesses said the stabber fled after the attack.
"I saw [the suspect] running," said Ali, a clerk at City Gourmet Deli, next door to The Erotica.
The deli's manager, Monti Hengazy, said he saw a bystander flag down a nearby taxi and tell the driver to call an ambulance shortly after the attack.
"The guy knocked on the door of the cab and said, 'Call the police,'" Henganzy recounted.
Though the circumstances of the stabbing remain unclear, a police spokeswoman said there was no indication that it was an anti-gay attack.
Last Saturday, a gay man was shot and killed in Greenwich Village. More than 1,000 people rallied the following Monday to protest, but the following night three other men were beaten in two separate anti-gay attacks.
Village residents told Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at a 6th Precinct's community council meeting Wednesday that the attacks and influx of rowdy revelers made their neighborhood feel like the "Wild West."
Kelly vowed to boost police presence in the area.
"It just feels like we shouldn't even live here anymore," Liam Arancio, 21, who lives in the Mutual Redevelopment Houses co-op across the street from The Erotica, said Friday morning. "This has happened way too many times."
Other Chelsea residents, by contrast, were less shaken up by Friday's attack.
"This is still a pretty safe neighborhood," said Aaron, 40, a bouncer who has lived in the neighborhood for 35 years.
Aaron, who declined to give his last name, said the violence doesn't compare to the bad old days.
"The neighborhood is still years better than what it was," he said.
There have been no arrests in Friday morning's slashing, which occurred in the neighboring 10th Precinct.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).