Here’s a tip for 2016: nothing in New York City is free. A Canadian tourist learned that life lesson yesterday (May 12) when she received a punch to the face for refusing to tip a man who was soliciting “free hugs” in Times Square.
Violene Dauvios, 22, was visiting the City That Never Sleeps with a female friend and while taking pictures on Broadway was approached by Jermaine Himmelstein with a cardboard sign that read “Free Hugs” and even bogarted a snapshot.
After embracing the photobomber, Dauvious went about her business causing Himmelstein to apparently blow a gasket.
Reports New York Post:
“He puts his arm around one of the girls, and then he pulls out his wallet, like he’s asking for a tip,” said Martinez, a tour-bus sales rep.
When she refused, Himmelstein followed Dauvios down the street and punched her in the eye before dropping the sign and fleeing, cops said.
“He hit her pretty hard,” said another witness, Karen Lewis. “It’s going to take a few weeks for that to heal.”
Dauvios was taken to Mount Sinai West hospital and treated for a black eye, swelling. cuts and bruises.
Himmelstein, 24, was arrested later in the afternoon.
But this was just one in a string of attacks Himmelstein has allegedly committed. According to WABC7, the bear hug bandit’s been terrorizing the locals for quite some time now.
Himmelstein also was arraigned in a punching attack on a 23-year-old woman on April 29 as she was waiting for the subway near Times Square. He is accused of telling the victim, “You will respect me or I will (expletive) knock you out.”
He also is accused of punching a woman in the face on the Coney Island boardwalk last year. Himmelstein has been arrested 16 times since 2012.
In April 2013, Himmelstein was arrested for throwing a can of soda at a woman who refused to hug him in Washington Square Park. The can bruised her face. The same month, he was charged with assaulting another woman who refused to hug him in the same park. He allegedly told her, “You’re pissing me off, and I assault people when I’m mad.”
If nothing else it’s obvious that the man needs psychiatric and psychological help and hopefully for himself and the women of the Big Apple, he gets it.