Renowned Vocal Coach, 87, Dies After ‘Unprovoked’ NYC Attack

A renowned Broadway singing coach who suffered severe brain damage after being knocked to the ground by a stranger in New York City has died in hospital.

Barbara Maier Gustern, 87, was left in critical condition when she was shoved down from behind without provocation while walking near her apartment in the Chelsea neighbourhood last Thursday evening, causing her head to strike the pavement.

The classically trained singer had taught numerous musical, opera and popular music stars including Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry, drag artist and playwright Taylor Mac, feminist punk vocalist Kathleen Hanna, and cast members in the 2019 revival of the Broadway musical Oklahoma!

On Tuesday, however, her grandson AJ said via her Facebook page that she had died at 11.15am local time.

“Today we have lost one of the brightest little flames to ever grace this world,” said AJ.

“I ask that you all give me a little time and space, but I want to make time for anyone and everyone who wants to know more about her final moments.”

In a previous post announcing Ms Gustern’s injury, AJ said: “I am incomprehensibly broken inside… do what you can for your fellow human being, no matter how small. Make the time. Preventing needless loss and violence like this starts with us as individuals. We must care more for each other.”

Police released surveillance footage of Ms Gustern’s suspected attacker, showing a young woman with pale skin and red hair wearing a black jacket over a white skirt or dress, black tights or leggings, and a black scarf or choker.

Friends and relatives told The New York Times that Ms Gustern initially remained conscious after the injury, telling one friend: “I’ve never been hit so hard in my life.”

She reportedly gave the police a description of her attacker and said that the woman shouted a a derogatory term before pushing her.

That night, friends said, she had been rushing to Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre to watch one of her students perform. She usually taught singers in her own apartment, working 10 hour days.

Just before her death, AJ told The New York Times: “She’s just a ball of light in a world that is often dark and doesn’t make any sense.”


  • The way to stop this is to start immediately executing all people who commit murder.

    • Evils do not deserve clemency. The more time they have, more people will die. They should not be bailed out for any one, for any reasons.

  • I hope they catch that person and she goes to prison for the rest of her life.

  • Show the video — maybe someone can identify this murderer.

  • That’s too bad. At her age still working 10 hours shows she was a true trooper.

    Break a leg Babs and keep up the good work on the other side.

  • There should be enough cameras in NY to follow a raccoon from his crib to every trash can in the city. Caring people can only hope there’s footage of the soulless twit going into a club. her building, or her home. 🙏🏻

  • Time to start executing these people to rid the world of their evil.

  • NYC has become a crime haven under the Democrats rule. Put more cops on the streets and let them do their jobs. The subways need more police also. It’s no “Defund the Police.” It’s hire more police to patrol the high crime areas.

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