An elderly Manhattan couple out for some Saturday afternoon shopping collided with a straphanger dashing to make a train — and the results were deadly.
The jostling, a daily underground hazard, happened on the downtown No. 3 platform at 34th Street-Penn Station as Kurt Salzinger and his wife Deanna Chitayat got off the subway around 3 p.m. on their way to Macy’s.
“A guy rushing, running to meet the train swiped Kurt, like pushed him and me,” Chitayat said.
“[Kurt] … fell on the platform and lay there like a dead man, not moving.”
Chitayat, who also fell, saw the man — whom she described as slim and athletic-looking — keep going.
“He stopped and looked at Kurt and saw him laying there and then jumped into the car,” she said.
Other kind-hearted riders rushed to his aide, including a nurse who took tissues out of her bag to apply to his wounds.
The fall caused bleeding in the 89-year-old grandfather’s brain. He developed pneumonia. The comatose Salzinger died Thursday, 12 days after the Oct. 27 incident.
“He died because of that guy,” said Chitayat, who is 85. “I don’t think he meant to kill him, but he killed him.”
Salzinger was a distinguished psychology professor and researcher whose family escaped Austria in 1938 right after the Nazis marched in. They traveled on the Trans Siberian Railroad through Russia to reach Japan and eventually Seattle.
They arrived in New York City when Salzinger was 12.
“He could hardly speak a word of English and two years later he was accepted at the Bronx High School of Science,” Chitayat said.
Salzinger went on to study at New York University and Columbia University where he received a doctorate in 1954. He was a psychology professor at Hofstra University, where he was named senior scholar in residence in 2003.
He had been executive director for science at the American Psychological Association and served as president of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Salzinger wrote 14 books and 200 journal articles and his research interests included behavior analysis of people as well as dogs, rats and goldfish.
A father of four children from an earlier marriage, Salzinger cut a dashing figure with a full mane of white hair.
He posted a photo with his arm around Chitayat on his Facebook page a few years ago, writing “Am I a lucky guy!!” They had been married 38 years.
Chitayat, who is also a psychologist and was a dean at Hofstra, said the couple attended the theater and concerts and recently returned from a trip to California.
When a neighbor in their Upper West Side building heard what happened, she wrote an appeal looking for witnesses which was posted on the West Side Rag blog.
“He survived the Nazis, but he didn’t survive going to Macy’s,” the neighbor, Deborah Hautzig, said.
The NYPD said it is investigating and asked anyone with information to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS or 1-888-57-PISTA for Spanish.
Chitayat said the NYPD told her that the surveillance cameras on the platform did not capture the incident.
She said she doesn’t want revenge or to see the man go to jail.
“But what I want him to do is to realize what he did, to remember it and to feel guilty,” she said. “He destroyed a person’s life to rush for a train.”
Source: Read Full Article