Three People Sprayed with Chemical on UES Sidewalk: Primary Target, Intoxicated Male, Refuses to Cooperate

pepper spray incident upper east side

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Three people were sprayed with an unknown caustic chemical on the sidewalk at 73rd and Lexington Avenue on Sunday afternoon. Police say one of the individuals was transported to the hospital for treatment.


Details are murky, mainly because the primary victim — a 31-year-old man who, according to NYPD officials, was intoxicated at the time — refused to cooperate and did not provide any details about the incident, including who sprayed him and why. The other victims, two women aged 72 and 67, were merely passersby who happened to be walking by when they were struck by the chemical that had just been sprayed into the air. The incident happened at about 4 p.m.

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“He refused to give any information. He was not cooperative. He was intoxicated,” said an NYPD spokesperson, calling the man the main target. “The two ladies were just walking by and they felt it hit their face. They were sprayed indirectly.”

Suffering from irritation and other effects of the chemical exposure, all three individuals sought refuge in a nearby store called Hatch, a high-end maternity clothing boutique, where one of the women called 911 for help. Emergency responders treated the victims on the scene, which included flushing their faces and eyes with water. A tipster who contacted East Side Feed reported that the man’s face was so swollen and red, he appeared to be having a severe allergic reaction, similar to that of a bee sting.

The tipster, who observed the scene at the maternity store, said the victims ran in “crying, vomiting and screaming,” adding that more than a dozen emergency personnel responded. “By the time we left, there were 10 – 15 firefighters and police officers washing out their faces,” the person stated.

An employee at Hatch said customers were in the store when the incident occurred – later learning that it began with an altercation a few doors down.


Police say they wanted to transport the male victim to a nearby hospital for treatment, but that he had refused. “He needed help,” the NYPD official told us.

The 72-year-old victim asked to be transported to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment of her injuries and was taken to Weill-Cornell Medical Center.

No arrests have been made and due to the male victim’s unwillingness to share details, the incident is not under investigation. The NYPD official explained that without cooperation, there’s technically no victim, and police are unable to look into this further.


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