Nick Porto, 28, and Kevin Atkins, 22, were strolling down Eighth Avenue arm-in-arm near Madison Square Garden where the Indiana Pacers were playing the New York Knicks. Between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., a group of four men in Knicks jerseys began verbally assaulting the couple.
“They called us faggots,” Porto told DNAInfo from Atkins’ home in the Bed-Stuy area of Brooklyn. “They made fun of my jeans,” Porto, a clothing designer, added. “I made the jeans myself, for that day.”
Porto turned to ask the men why they were harassing them and that’s when he claims the men jumped him and Atkins. Porto suffered a broken nose and Atkins was fitted for a cast for an injured right hand.
“I’m so upset — it’s my fault, I spoke back to them — that Kevin was hit,” Porto said. “He didn’t deserve it whatsoever.”
The men fled before cops arrived, but the NYPD has released a surveillance video of eight men they are seeking to question in relation to the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800)-577-TIPS, log on at nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.
For Atkins, the attack has left him unable to do his job, which requires a lot of typing, but Porto remains traumatized and no longer feels safe as a gay man in New York.
“I’ve never had a feeling like this before in the city,” he said. “I didn’t know that it’s not over, that this sort of stuff still happen…I was so naive to think that things were better here.”