Attacks Against Asian New Yorkers: What to Know

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It’s Tuesday.

Weather: Another nice day: Plenty of sun, and a high in the mid-60s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sunday (Passover).

Asian-American communities have been holding vigils and protests after a white gunman attacked Atlanta-area spas last week and killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent.

Carrying signs that read “Racism is a virus” and “Stop Asian Hate,” hundreds of people gathered in New York City last weekend to protest a yearlong surge of attacks and hate crimes against Asian-Americans.

Yet the violence continued.

At least five people of Asian descent were attacked in the city over the weekend. On Sunday alone, three people were attacked, including one woman who had attended a demonstration in support of Asian-American victims that day.

[The assaults are part of a new wave of xenophobia that emerged during the pandemic.]

Here’s what you need to know:

The details

On Friday, a 68-year-old Sri Lankan man was riding the subway in Lower Manhattan when another passenger yelled a racial slur at him and punched him in the head, the police said. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

The next morning, a 66-year-old man of Asian descent was punched in the face on the Lower East Side. Then three women of Asian descent were attacked Sunday.

Katie Hou, 37, who is Chinese-American, said a man punched her twice in the face after she left a rally in Union Square with her 7-year-old daughter. Later that day, a 41-year-old woman was thrown to the ground in Midtown, and a 54-year-old woman on the Lower East Side was struck in the face with a metal pipe, the police said.

The authorities said that least four of the attacks were being investigated as hate crimes.

“People need to be vigilant about their safety, but at the same time, we need to do something to stop this from happening again,” Ms. Hou told my colleague Mihir Zaveri.

The context

Over the last year, nearly 3,800 hate incidents have been reported against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide, according to Stop AAPI Hate, an anti-discrimination group.

The New York Police Department recorded 29 attacks against people of Asian descent last year. Investigators said they believed that 25 of the incidents stemmed from anti-Asian sentiment and the perception that the victim was carrying the coronavirus, according to police statistics.

The reaction

Many of the city’s mayoral candidates have participated in news conferences and rallies to support local Asian communities. Among them is Andrew Yang, who would become the first Asian-American mayor in the city’s history.

“We have to start building bonds of connection with the Asian-American community to let them know that this city is theirs, this city is ours,” Mr. Yang said at a rally on Sunday.

Community leaders say that security and bias are among the most urgent issues facing Asian-Americans. On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would amp up the police presence in Asian communities.

From The Times

Mayor Ends Remote Work for 80,000 in Signal to Rest of New York City

New Yorkers 50 and Older are Eligible for Vaccination on Tuesday

‘I’ve Lost a Lot of Faith’: Suburban Parents Push Schools to Reopen Faster

Jeffrey Epstein’s Mansion to Undergo ‘Complete Makeover’

Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

Prosecutors said the co-owner of Nature’s Grill, a Brooklyn-based restaurant chain, was involved in a drug ring. [Brooklyn Paper]

The white headmaster of a Long Island Catholic school was placed on temporary leave after reports that he told a Black student to kneel to a teacher to apologize. [NBC]

A New Jersey elementary school vice principal was suspended after a Covid-19 outbreak left eight staff members sick. []

A Rise in Attacks Against Asian-Americans

    • Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed in the Atlanta massage parlor shootings. The suspect’s motives are under investigation, but Asian communities across the United States are on alert because of a surge in attacks against Asian-Americans over the past year.
    • A torrent of hate and violence against Asian-Americans around the U.S. began last spring, in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Community leaders say the bigotry was spurred by the rhetoric of former President Trump, who referred to the coronavirus as the “China virus.”
    • In New York, a wave of xenophobia and violence has been compounded by the economic fallout of the pandemic, which has dealt a severe blow to New York’s Asian-American communities. Many community leaders say racist assaults are being overlooked by the authorities.
    • In January, an 84-year-old man from Thailand was violently slammed to the ground in San Francisco, resulting in his death at a hospital two days later. The attack, captured on video, has become a rallying cry.

    And finally: Vaccinating seniors at home

    The Times’s Roni Caryn Rabin writes:

    One vial of vaccine. Five elderly homebound patients. Six hours to get to them before the vaccine spoiled.

    Doctors at Northwell Health, the largest heath care provider in New York State, set out last week to solve one of the most vexing medical and logistical challenges of the campaign to get Americans vaccinated against the coronavirus: how to inoculate millions of seniors who live at home and are too frail or disabled to go to a clinic or queue up at a vaccination site.

    Members of the network’s house calls program had prepared for their first run. A supply of the new Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine made the operation easier, because one visit would do the trick.

    The doctors were racing against the clock: Once they punctured the seal on the vial and drew the first dose, they had only six hours to use the remaining vaccine, or they would have to throw it out.

    “We’ll be running a tight ship, I think, but very compassionately,” said Dr. Karen Abrashkin, the program’s medical director, as a bulky, high-tech cooler — actually, a car refrigerator — was loaded onto the back seat of her car last Wednesday and plugged into a cigarette lighter.

    [Learn more about a mad dash to vaccinate homebound seniors.]

    Her first stop was a twofer, the home of a married couple in Hempstead, N.Y. Hector Hernandez, 81, a retired window cleaner who used to scrub high-rise buildings in Manhattan, and his wife, Irma, 80, a retired seamstress, had decided to get vaccinated after sorting through a potpourri of conflicting advice from friends and family.

    “First I was skeptical — is it safe?” Mr. Hernandez said. Two friends had warned him to be careful because the vaccine was new. But Mrs. Hernandez’s cardiologist assured the couple it was safe, and another friend seemed confident that getting the vaccine was better than not getting it.

    The couple’s granddaughters, including one who was laid up with Covid-19 for two weeks, advised waiting to see if the vaccine had long-term side effects. In the end, Mr. Hernandez said, their daughter persuaded them to get vaccinated.

    It’s Tuesday — call your mother.

    Metropolitan Diary: Going to Budapest

    Dear Diary:

    Overheard while walking through Brooklyn Bridge Park:

    First Man: “Are you going to Budapest?”

    Second Man: “Yes.”

    First Man: “Why?”

    Second Man: “I am going to Budapest because I have a ticket.”

    — Brant Thomas

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