New York has become one of the safest big cities in America, but it has a colorful history as far as violent crime is concerned. This week we visit some of the city’s more picturesque settings for slaughter (and no, we’re not including The Dakota).
Walk down busy 71st Ave and under the Long Island Railroad overpass at Forest Hills and you’ll suddenly emerge into Station Square, a brick-paved open space modeled on a medieval town center. A unique public area, the square is completely enclosed by brick and stucco buildings and arching pedestrian overpasses. External half-timbering and tile-roofed towers complete the visitor’s impression of having just stepped out of a time machine.
In other words, it’s not a half-bad place to take a date. John Diel and Christine Freund were sitting in the square one winter night in 1977 when three huge .44 caliber shells smashed the windshield of Diel’s car. He survived, but Freund was hit twice and died within hours. The perp? None other than David Berkowitz, aka Son of Sam. The Station Square attack to be a turning point in the case, as the slugs recovered from the scene helped police conclude that they were, in fact, dealing with a serial killer. Son of Sam terrorized New York until August of that year.