Cellist Med Student Gives Up NYC Subway Performances After Assaulted Twice In One Year
Tonywestphoto via Getty Images

A young cellist and medical student will no longer perform his music in New York City Subway stations after being assaulted for the second time in less than a year.

The victim — Iain Forrest, an MD-PhD student studying genetics — was playing his electric cello in the 34th Street–Herald Square station when a female bystander stepped forward, grabbed his metal water bottle, and struck him once on the back of the head before fleeing. Forrest explained in a viral X thread that this was the second assault he’s endured in under a year, a pattern that he says has prompted him to stop such public performances.

“This marks the second attack I’ve endured in less than a year while performing for New Yorkers in subway stations,” said Forrest. “I don’t think I can do this anymore. I’m suspending subway performances indefinitely.”

Forrest reported that his assailant fled into a nearby store following the attack, successfully evading pursuers and police by shedding her outer garments.

New York Police Department (NYPD) Crime Stoppers posted another angle of Forrest’s assailant in which her scarf doesn’t cover her face. NYPD offered a reward of up to $3,500 for tips leading to her arrest and indictment.

According to NYPD crime data, transit crimes citywide have increased by nearly 23 percent year to date. Since January, NYPD has reported 138 incidents of grand larceny, 64 felony assaults, 60 robberies, three burglaries, and one murder. In the same time period last year, there were 99 reported incidents of grand larceny, 58 felony assaults, 57 robberies, one burglary, one murder, and one rape.


New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA), which runs the New York City Subway, reported a total of over 4,900 complaints last year: nearly 2,300 of those were classified as assaults. There were less than 900 arrests reported for assault last year.

Last year’s totals were an increase from 2022, in which NYCTA reported over 4,700 complaints, with just over 2,000 of those classified as assaults. There were fewer than 700 arrests reported for assault in 2022.

Data from Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), NYCTA’s affiliate, covering felonies across all of its transportation modes — busing and commuter rail, in addition to the subway — revealed that felony assaults increased to 642 last year, up from totals in the prior four years: 586 in 2022, 498 in 2021, 368 in 2020, and 395 in 2019. Murders declined slightly to seven last year from 10 in 2022, though up from six in 2021, five in 2020, and three in 2019. Burglaries remained high at 39 reported incidents last year, up from 22 in 2022 and the same as the totals for 2021 and 2020, all up from the 18 incidents reported in 2019.

Other MTA data specific to the subway revealed that assaults on subway workers totaled 80 last year, nearly double the totals for 2022, 2021, and 2020: for all three years, assaults totaled 45.

Other crimes have increased as well. MTA has reported a marked increase in subway vandalism incidents from 2021 (484) to 2022 (755) and 2023 (650).

Subway fires remained fairly consistent, totaling over 1,000 over the last three years, an uptick from the 900 reported incidents in 2020.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Cellist Med Student Gives Up NYC Subway Performances After Assaulted Twice In One Year