The death last week of Broadway singing coach Barbara Maier Gustern has been classified as a homicide by New York police. Her attacker, who pushed the elderly Manhattan resident from behind, remains on the run.
Gustern, 87, was on her way to a taxi outside her Chelsea apartment on the evening of March 10 when she was knocked to the ground in what police say was an unprovoked attack by an apparent stranger. Gustern suffered serious head injuries and soon fell into a coma. She died five days after the attack at Bellevue Hospital in New York without regaining consciousness.
The murder classification was reported today by New York news channel NY1.
The NYPD Crime Stoppers released images of surveillance footage near Gustern’s W. 28th Street apartment. The suspect in the photos has long auburn hair and is wearing a black jacket or coat, a white dress and a long scarf. (See the photos above.)
Gustern, a singer and vocal coach whose students included Blondie’s Debbie Harry, avant-garde performer Diamanda Galas and the cast of Daniel Fish’ acclaimed 2019 Broadway revival Oklahoma!, has long been a fixture on the downtown cabaret scene. She was on her way to Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater to watch a college girl’s performance on March 10 when she was pushed to the floor.
Gustern’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday, March 26 at 2 p.m. ET at the Church of the Holy Apostles in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Gustern was a frequent volunteer in the Church soup kitchen.