Dressed as a Ghostbuster and walking a dog named for a Stephen King character, Barbara Valcarcel suffered a real life bloody Halloween horror in upper Manhattan on Oct. 31 when she was assaulted by neighborhood tough.
Valcarcel, 52, was walking her 3-month-old German shepherd puppy, Carrie, on Thayer St. near Nagle Ave. in Washington Heights’ Fort George section when an older man got caught in the pooch’s leash.
The older man stumbled a bit. “I wasn’t able to pull it back quickly enough,” Valcarcel said.
Then a young man hanging with a group of suspected pot dealers nearby got involved.
“‘That puppy ain’t s---!’” Valcarcel recalled the young man saying.
“I go, ‘Right. You’re an authority on dogs?’”
Valcarcel and the younger man exchanged more words, with the younger man threatening her and her partner of 10 years, Angel Sanchez, who was not at the scene.
“I felt something behind me,” Valcarcel said.
Then a second young man in the group bashed Valcarcel in the forehead with a rubber traffic cone. The heavy rubber scraped the skin from Valcarcel’s forehead and left her with a long jagged gash that needed many stitches to close.
“This is Trinitario land, bitch!” one of the young men shouted.
Another man snatched Valcarcel’s cellphone, and both attackers fled.
Valcarcel — who has lived in the neighborhood her whole life — headed home.
“I’m bleeding. I walk into my apartment. My husband sees me. We call the police.”
Sanchez took a picture of his wife with her face covered in blood. She was dressed in her Halloween costume, as “Zeddemore,” Ernie Hudson’s character from the movie “Ghostbusters.” When her husband snapped the photo, a “Scarface” movie poster was in the background.
“I went crazy. I was so angry,” recalled Sanchez, 63. “I went to the spot where it happened and no one was there. Normally, they are running 24 hours a day. They sell everything over there.”
An ambulance took her to Harlem Hospital, rather than the much closer Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.
The NYPD confirmed the assault and cell phone theft in a statement, saying there have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.
Valcarcel said she was able to identify her attacker in a photo lineup and cops are looking for additional security video of the incident.
The couple says the group hangs out on Thayer St. selling marijuana and blocking the sidewalk and has been a nuisance in the past. “These guys are out there blocking the sidewalk 24 hours a day,” Sanchez said.
“My wife doesn’t come outside that much anymore,’ he said. “It’s crazy.”
The attack took place in an area where crime has been climbing — it’s up 17% through Nov. 13 in 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Misdemeanor and felony assaults are both up 10%, while robberies are up 35%.
Within a block-and-a-half of the attack, there have been 11 felony robberies, 3 grand larcenies and 31 misdemeanor assaults so far this year, NYPD data shows.
But there have been fewer murders in the 34th — four in 2022, compared to 11 in the same period in 2021. And shootings are down from 32 in 2021 to 19 in 2022.
One positive note: a Sanitation parking lot worker found the cellphone Nov. 1 and returned it to the couple.
“We named the puppy like the Stephen King book because we just got her, and Halloween was coming up,” Valcarcel said. “And then I was assaulted on Halloween.”