Police are searching for a group of teenage girls accused of attacking a woman on the subway last week before a fellow straphanger rushed to her rescue.
The victim, who asked not to be identified, told NBC 4 New York she was on a train on the 4 and 5 line headed to Manhattan on Thursday afternoon. At the Bowling Green stop, as many as 20 teenage girls got on and filled up the car.
When the woman walked toward the door to get out at the next stop, she said one of the girls yelled "excuse me" at her as she passed.
"I told her, 'Do not yell at me,'" the woman said. "And I kept on walking further. As I was walking she pushed me. I turn around and slightly pushed her back. At this point, without any hesitation, she took her fist and with all the power that she had, she hit me into my face."
The girl's friends piled on and began beating her over the head before trying to grab her bag, the woman said. There was no one else in the car to come to her rescue.
"Everyone else was cheering. They were cheering -- like, I felt like a gladiator," she said.
When the train finally arrived at the next stop, Wall Street, the victim said she fell out of the doors onto the platform as the girls continued to grab at her. She said they began to follow her off the train until a good Samaritan stepped in.
"She helped me to get up and she shielded me from them and she said 'run,' and I ran," the victim said.
The victim had bruising and swelling to her head and face but is otherwise OK.
Police sources say they have been able to identify the girl who allegedly started the fight because she apparently posted details of the attack on social media. Police are questioning her, but have not yet made an arrest.
In the meantime, the victim is grateful to the unknown woman who helped her and is hoping to meet her.
"She's amazing. I want to thank her in person," she said.