person holding brass knuckles, looking from side to side with caption 'trying to protect myself from the west 4th subway puncher while also hoping no one things EYE am the west 4th subway puncher'


NYC TikTok on edge over the West 4th ‘puncher’

Are you on West 4th subway puncher TikTok?


Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 17, 2021   Updated on Sep 20, 2021, 11:43 am CDT

Who is the West 4th Street “puncher”? It’s a mystery, but one Manhattan subway stop has been dominating TikTok’s FYP.

TikToks about a woman punching people at the West 4th stop appear to have started after TikToker avoid_a_void posted a video last week. It shows an injury from an encounter with a woman who suddenly struck her while she was leaving the subway station. She described the woman—white, short, mid-30s to mid-40s—in another TikTok, and said she had sustained a concussion.

That led to other videos about people preparing for a possible encounter, armed with brass knuckles, water bottles, and tote bags.

While there are multiple videos of people showing their preparedness, and there seems to be a collective awareness of this woman, there don’t appear to be any videos of her in action. (And it’s possible more than one person has thrown punches at that stop.) Since this is TikTok, that led some to speculate about possible paranormal or supernatural connections.

In the comments of one popular TikTok, other theories emerged. “She’s la llorona but for drunk nyc freshmen,” said one commenter. Awareness of the puncher has apparently reached outside NYC.

comments on tiktok

The original poster, avoid_a_void, tells the Daily Dot that she hadn’t seen any videos about the woman before hers, but that she doesn’t wish her any “ill will.” She says the response—the video has more than 1 million views—was more than she anticipated, but urged people not to try to go after or hurt anyone: “She doesn’t deserve that. She needs help.”

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*First Published: Sep 17, 2021, 11:19 am CDT