The Woman in Market never recognized Braunstein in the attack. It’s unclear whether she’d have even known who he was if she had. It was the beauty editor, the woman who knew Braunstein best, who called police with her suspicions.
“She has been able to rebuild her life, and it’s not easy,” says a friend, Anna Moine. “If anything, I hope this brings more attention to crimes against women.”
On the run for more than a month, Braunstein has become an urban bogeyman, a face women see on the subway. A cop chase in the garment district turned up a Braunstein look-alike Italian tourist. And in Cobble Hill one morning, a man who looked like Braunstein walked into a café on Court Street at 7:30 a.m.—“I looked at him, he looked at me, we vibed each other, and he walked out quick,” said the proprietor, a jovial guy who thrummed with anxiety after the incident (“It’s the definition of a freak-out experience,” he said).
That morning, reporters amassed across the street from the shop. Near their cameras were those of an NYU student making a short film about a young man who falls in love with a young woman who is a man. An elegant student in a black overcoat stared mournfully at a Lucian Freud book before helicopters began to whir overhead and a SWAT team in hazmat suits gathered, extending Braunstein’s pillowcase to the nose of Chase the bloodhound. Chase led to the door of an empty brownstone on a picturesque stretch of Henry Street, a yoga flyer on the doorknob and decaying Yellow Books on the stairs. Chase went no farther.
Dejected cops distributed $12,000 reward flyers at all the nice new boutiques. They left one with the manager of the American Apparel store, a barrel-chested guy in a T-shirt with purple palm trees. He stared at it with mild curiosity. “I wish I saw him,” he said, tracing the reward amount with a finger. “I could use the money.”
His stubbly co-worker looked him up and down. “By the way, where did you get that shirt?” he asked.
“Nom de Guerre,” said the manager. “And it was $50.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that,” said the clerk, nose in the air.