UPDATE March 27, 2023: A 16-year-old is the first suspect arrested in connection to a group attack on a Jewish man in Queens last month. The 16-year-old suspect was charged with 17 counts related to assault, robbery, and a hate crime; more here.
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Police are investigating an attack as a possible hate crime after a man was ambushed and robbed by a group of men at a park in Queens last weekend.
The old World’s Fair grounds at Flushing Meadows Corona Park is one of the great tributes to global ingenuity, a park that celebrates innovation and big ideas, but none of that matters anymore to robbery victim Sam Levy.
“Right now, it only hurts but before you could see it all black and blue,” Levy said. To him, it’s just the place where he became a victim after a group of six men set upon him for his money, his cell phone and his dignity.
“He said these exact words, ‘(expletive) Jew’ and then all of the force,” Levy said. “They had the money, they had the phone, they could have just run away. But now they found out I was Jewish. All of it pure evil. I’m telling you they hit me with no mercy. I knew I was dead, there’s no way I’m getting out of this.”
It happened around Sunday around 8:30 p.m., when Levy was on his nightly walk past the unisphere and over a bridge over the Grand Central.
At the bottom of the bridge, he saw his attackers break into two groups, one blocking each direction he could take. Meaning, he had no choice but to walk directly into an ambush.
He thinks the muggers realized he was Jewish when they saw his name on his ID.
“Especially if it’s targeting a specific group, but with that being the fairgrounds, I don’t know if that’s the case,” he said.
Gossett said gasoline was poured into the livestock building where someone tried to set it on fire.
“It was gut-wrenching Gossett said. “It was heartbreaking. We’ve been working so hard over the last year just trying to get it up and going and have a fair here again.”
Gossett said they have been holding events in the exhibit hall, including weddings, birthday parties, and a fall festival.
Now many of the windows are boarded up and events have been put on hold.
“It’s devastating to everyone,” Gossett said.
Officials told Channel 9 that the grounds were set to host its first fair in seven years. Now, they are raising money in order to make repairs.