New York newsstand owners beaten and looted after Union Square riots

The Gramercy newsstand owner who was brutally beaten during Twitch star Kai Cenat’s PS5 giveaway that sparked a riot is pleading with the city for help – and for consequences for his attackers.

“I want punishment — any kind of punishment” for the rioters, Liaquat Ali said at his kiosk at East 28th Street and Park Avenue South.

“I want the government to help me. I want financial help.”

Ali, 69, was standing in front of his newsstand when four teenagers showed up and began beating him in the August 4 incident.

“The terrorist boys attacked me… They hit me here, here, and here,” he recalled, gesturing with his whole body.

The Jamaica, Queens, resident was defenseless when rioters raided his merchandise and cash register, taking $800 worth of food and drink and $2,600 in cash, he said.

Not only does Ali have persistent neck, back and leg pain that forces him to walk with a cane, but his wife and three adult children at home in Bangladesh may also be suffering as he may not be able to walk the 1,200 dollars to pay rent for newsstands, he said.

A horde of teenagers rush past Ali's newsstand
Liaquat Ali was beaten and looted by Twitch star Kai Cenat during the PS5 raffle that led to the riot.
Instagram @2__turntthen

Teens steal drinks from Ali's newsstand
In the Aug. 4 incident, child-faced rioters stole $800 worth of food and drinks and $2,600 in cash from Ali’s newsstand.
Instagram @2__turntthen

“I can’t send money to my relatives,” Ali said.

Ali filed a complaint with the police in the 13th district, but no arrests have been made so far.

“The investigation is ongoing,” said a police spokesman.

Liaquat Ali in his newsstand.
Ali worries he won’t be able to pay the rent for his newsstand after the robbery.
Stefano Giovannini

This was the second time Ali – who used to work at a bodega on 28th Street and Sixth Avenue – has been attacked and robbed since taking over his current newsstand nearly a year ago.

Six months ago, Ali was sitting in his kiosk when a man entered through the side door and stole the contents of his cash register and most of his merchandise – but only after beating Ali mercilessly, he recalled.

“He hit me and took all my money.

A picture of the fridge at Ali's newsstand after it was ransacked
“I want the government to help me. I want financial help,” Ali said.
Stefano Giovannini

“I’m scared,” Ali admitted, though he promised the booth would stay open.

Ali holds his shoulder
This was the second time Ali has been attacked and robbed since he took over his current newsstand nearly a year ago.
Stefano Giovannini

An outbreak erupted in Union Square as thousands of teenagers flocked to Cenat’s giveaway, and then violent protests ensued – throwing bottles and chairs, climbing onto the roof of the subway pavilion and even attacking NYPD officers .

At least seven people were injured and 66 handcuffed in the chaos.

Cenat, 21, was also arrested and charged with inciting a riot and an unlawful assembly.

A witness to the chaos told the Post that Union Square looked like a war zone during the riot.


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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