NYC subway crime: Musician speaks out after random bottle attack - 'This actually happens a lot'

Iain Forrest is a medical student and musician who has been performing in New York City's subway system under the name "Eyeglasses" as part of the Music Under New York volunteer program. 

Forrest made the news for something other than his music last week, when he was playing his electric cello at the 34th Street Herald Square Station and a woman struck him in the back of the head with his metal water bottle in an unprovoked attack


Subway musician says he's done performing after bottle attack: 'I don't think I can do this anymore'

Iain Forrest, a musician who plays the cello in the New York City subway, says he doesn't think he wants to perform anymore after a woman hit him with his water bottle in an unprovoked attack.

"I just felt terrible pain in the back of my head. I was out of it, and when I saw my metal water bottle rolling around on the ground, and saw my fans who were watching the performance, their faces were absolutely horrified, then I put it together," Forrest told FOX 5 NY's Lisa Evers.

The NYPD has since released images of the woman they said was responsible for the attack.

Police released this image of the woman. (NYPD)

According to Forrest, this is the second time in under a year he's been attacked while playing music in the city's subway system, and that attacks on musicians are more common than many realize. 

‘This actually happens a lot’

"I was terrified to share it with my fans too and subject other people, but I thought it was important to show people what happens to musicians who perform in the subway. This actually happens a lot," Forrest said.

Forrest was attacked last May in the Times Square station.

"I was packing up my instrument and my case and this man tried to steal my cello and my instrument. He punched me repeatedly and then put me in a chokehold finally before taking off and destroying my sound equipment," Forrest said.


Subway crime on the rise, despite increase in arrests: NYPD

Subway crimes have jumped nearly 23% this year, despite a rise in arrests. Law enforcement experts point the finger at laws that allow suspects back out on the streets before long.

He said NYPD officers arrested the suspect and temporarily gave Forrest extra protection, but he knows they have a vast system to patrol and can't stay in one spot. That's why he is joining his fellow musicians in the Subway Advocacy Group to call for the tracking of attacks on subway musicians and possibly employ private security who could summon police.

"They're unfortunately too frequent. Musicians I've talked with who are part of the Music Under New York Program and outside of it they'll tell you that they've been attacked and harrassed, they've been robbed of their instrument or their donations," Forrest said.

Forrest, who has performed at Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium, said he has no plans to return to the subway with his electric cello, but he is continuing to create and perform the music he loves at other venues, where he doesn't have to worry about risking his life.