Newsstand owner Richard Stagner found himself peddling papers with his own picture on the front page after he and another New Yorker threw themselves against a bank door and trapped a stabbing suspect in the lobby.
Scott Robeson stopped by Stagner's newsstand to help him untie bundles of papers when Stagner pointed out a man he said had been loitering. Moments later, Robeson saw the loiterer standing behind an older man who was withdrawing cash from one of the machines.
"Suddenly he pulled out a knife, in the classical arc position like Hamlet, and he goes after the guy," Robeson said. "The guy falls on the floor and dollars go flying all over the place."
The victim of the robbery, identified by the police as Lawrence Black, 65, who lives on Long Island, staggered out to the sidewalk, bleeding from several wounds.
As the attacker bent down to collect the $20 bills scattered about the lobby, Robeson leaned his weight against the lobby door, which opens outward, and Stagner joined him in holding it closed. Several passers-by quickly joined in.
One of them summoned an ambulance for Black. Police later arrested Paulie Failla, 40, of Queens, in connection with the crime.
Though he was stabbed several times in the chest, arms and legs, Black was listed in stable condition Wednesday at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, said Myrna Manners, a hospital spokeswoman.
Tuesday afternoon, Robeson was the center of attention at nearby Carmichael's restaurant. "He's our local hero," said Theresa Dolan, the bartender. "Everyone's been buying him drinks."