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Sunset Park sidewalk artist leaves messages of love, courage the day after subway attack

chalk message on the sidewalk in sunset park
Artist Hans Hans Honschar left colorful messages on the sidewalk outside the 36th Street subway station the day after a shooting left 23 people injured.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The day after gunman attacked straphangers in a busy Sunset Park subway station, commuters streamed in and out of the transit hub, which had fully resumed operations after multiple train lines were shut down in the aftermath of the attack.

Early on Tuesday morning, April 12, a perp fired multiple rounds and detonated a smoke grenade as a packed N train pulled into the 36th Street station, injuring 23 people and leaving ten with gunshot wounds. The Police Department’s prime suspect, 62-year-old Frank James, was arrested in Manhattan’s East Village on Wednesday afternoon in connection to the chaos.

police outside the 36th street station in bay ridge
Police monitored the 36th Street subway station in Bay Ridge the day after a shooting attack injured 23 people at the station. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Sunset Park was left stunned and still in the aftermath of the attack, with service through the station halted as the New York City Police Department and federal agents investigated the crime. By Wednesday morning, the caution tape was down and the station was filled with students and commuters once again. An NYPD truck and a number of cops spent the day monitoring the area, overseeing riders as they headed up and down the station steps.

Somewhere in the midst of the chaos, as state and city officials urged New Yorkers to be both vigilant and resilient in the face of a sudden tragedy, a sidewalk chalk artist took the time to write out colorful messages of support for those attempting to return to their everyday routines.

“Fear Stops Here,” reads one of the colorful chalk messages etched onto the sidewalk. “Together, we will not let the devil darken our Sunset,” says another.

people take pictures in sunset park
Straphangers and pedestrians paused to snap photos of the encouraging messages the day after a terrifying attack shook Sunset Park. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The array of encouragements is signed by Hans Honschar, who regularly leaves those words of love and encouragement on New York City’s sidewalks.

Straphangers paused to read and snap pictures of the neatly-written messages, which the artist had faced in different directions so pedestrians headed toward or away from the station from all angles could see them. 

Honschar outlined “NYPD” in a purple heart, and honored his fellow New Yorkers, writing  “You may try to kill us, but you will never kill our New York Spirit.”

sunset park station
Sunset Park’s 36th Street station was bustling again a day after an attack shook the neighborhood.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

James is will be arraigned on terrorism charges in federal court on Thursday. In the wake of the attack, Mayor Eric Adams vowed to continue to make the city safer, calling on state and federal authorities to work together to crack down on illegal firearms.

“This sea of violence comes from many rivers,” Adams said at a press conference on Tuesday evening. “We must dam every river that feeds the greater crisis. That is the work of my life, this administration, and this police department. I will not stop until the peace we deserve becomes the reality we experience.”

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