Man slashed across face on Manhattan-bound L train recounts terrifying encounter
For a moment, straphanger Noel Quintana says he wasn’t even aware a stranger on his Wednesday morning L train commute had just slashed him in the face.
It wasn’t until Quintana, 61, reached up to touch his cheeks and felt the warm blood on his fingertips that he knew he had been badly cut.
“[At first] I thought he punched me or something — and when I saw the reaction of the people in the train I thought I was hit,” Quintana told the Daily News on Friday. “[Then] I saw my hand [was bloody] because I put my hand on my face. It was bleeding profusely.
“I was so scared. There was a lot of blood flowing,” he added. “I knew from watching movies that most of the people die because of lots of blood lost. I was so afraid of dying.”
Quintana was on his way to work in Harlem around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday when a man in a Louis Vuitton mask walked by and kicked the tote bag he had set on the train floor.
“I said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and I went toward the door to get away from him,” he said.
Quintana shifted away from the assailant, but the man just kicked his bag again before taking a box-cutter knife to Quintana’s face.
“I asked for someone to help me, but nobody came,” he said.
Quintana got out at the next stop and went to an MTA booth, where a worker dialed 911. Medics later took him to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.
“It’s from cheek to cheek,” Quintana said of the long, horizontal gash that stretches right under his nose.
The attacker ran off the train as soon as the doors opened at the 1st Ave. stop, officials said. It wasn’t clear if the assailant intentionally kicked the bag or did so accidentally.
Cops released surveillance images of the suspect Thursday and asked for the public’s help tracking him down. He’s described as between 20 and 30, wearing a black North Face jacket, red hoodie, blue jeans, a red bandanna and light-colored sneakers.
Quintana said this isn’t the first violent encounter he’s had with a stranger, noting he was socked in the face two years ago on Lexington Ave. and 125th St.
“I fell on the ground, but it was nothing like this,” he said.
“I feel surprisingly OK. I can tolerate it,” he added. “Once in a while I take some pain relievers just to ease my pain. What bothers me is my face is still swollen, (and) that’s why I feel strange.”