‘This is home’ — Patrons return to MoMA days after knife attack

The Museum of Modern Art reopened its doors to the public Tuesday morning, three days after a museum patron stabbed two workers at the front desk when he was denied entrance to the facility.

Dozens of patrons — a mix of tourists and New Yorkers — lined up ahead of the museum’s 10:30 am opening, seemingly undeterred by the recent attack.

“This is home. I love this place,” said Henry Pierre, 57, a MoMA member and resident of the Lower East Side. “The thought of fear didn’t even enter my mind when I came today.”

Suspect Gary Cabana, a former Broadway usher who friends say suffered from worsening mental health issues during the pandemic, was arrested in Philadelphia Tuesday morning. MoMA was shuttered Sunday and Monday following the attack.

“From all of us at MoMA, thank you for your support,” the museum posted on Twitter. “We’re relieved and grateful that our colleagues are recovering, and the attacker was arrested.”

A spokesperson for the museum didn’t immediately return a request for further comment. Maida Rosenstein, president of UAW Local 2110, which represents MoMA employees, said the union met with museum management on Monday to discuss improving safety measures.

“This is going to reverberate for a lot of front-facing museum workers,” Rosentstein said. “When the museums reopened after the pandemic shutdown, these staff were the first that had to be there … We’ve heard a lot of reports back from people. There’s a lot of tension at those desks dealing with people during this period because of COVID protocols, changing protocols, everyone’s level of anxiety, etc. It’s not easy.”

Some tourists waiting in line to enter MoMA Tuesday morning hadn’t heard about the recent attack, but said they were unfazed.

“I really hope today’s visit will be safe,” said Allie Tatoy, a 20-year-old student visiting from Atlanta. “I’m sure it will [be]†

For others waiting on line, the attack evoked concerns about untreated mental health issues.

“We’re just living in very difficult times, and very precarious, very unusual times right now,” said Lydia Percy, a Forest Hills resident. “Mental illness is a prominent topic that needs to be addressed.”

Jake Offenhartz contributed reporting.

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