MANHATTAN — Hundreds gathered in Times Square Tuesday night to honor the life of Michelle Go, the 40-year-old who was killed Saturday when a homeless man pushed her in front of an oncoming train at the Times Square subway platform.
“The death of Michelle ripped at my heart,” said Mayor Eric Adams, speaking at the vigil.
And at the hearts of so many others. Friends remember Go as kind, giving, and adventurous.
“She traveled and took chances and showed me what it means to live life to its fullest,” said her co-worker, Kim Garnett.
“Michelle represents what we love about this city,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James. “She came from somewhere else to make this a better place.”
The group Asians Fighting for Justice organized Tuesday’s vigil.
While police determined this was not necessarily a hate crime, the group is calling on city officials to take action by providing more help to people suffering from mental illness, and putting an end to the uptick in recent violence against the AAPI community.
“It’s a two in one situation where Asian women are fetishized and we’re getting racist comments,” said Celina Leung, a mourner at the vigil.
“Whether or not this was labeled as a hate crime or not, I think there’s a true, palpable sense of fear and a little bit of anger amongst the Asian community,” said another mourner, Gary Reloj.
Reloj didn’t know Go, but said he feels like he did.
“The fact that she was only a year older than me, that she’s also in finance, that she spent time volunteering for the community, that she was just like any other New Yorker taking the subway to get to her destination,” Reloj said. “She easily could have been a friend of mine. She easily could have been my sister.”
A city now grieving a life taken too soon, and left with the task of healing a larger community.
“I think the solution, the very general label of it all, add more love to the conversation, and perhaps we’ll start to solve that problem of hate,” said Reloj.
The Manhattan DA's office says Simon Martial, 61, was arraigned Wednesday on one count of second-degree murder and remanded in connection with Go's death.
He is due back in court on February 23.
The incident comes just a week after Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul jointly released a plan to address crime and homelessness across the subway system.
It includes deploying more mental health professionals to interact with homeless New Yorkers.