Ithaca, N.Y. — Magician William Metro was standing alone outside a downtown bar shortly after 1 a.m. a few weeks ago, counting the money he’d made from an evening’s work, when two young men approached.

The young men tried to jump him. They hit and punched Metro, a well-known street performer in Ithaca, the magician said in an interview with The Voice.

They didn’t get any money. But about a week later a group of men — who appeared to be teenagers or in their early 20s — came back.

This time, there were five of them. The attack again happened after the bars had closed at 1 a.m.

“They beat me up,” Metro said of the group of five. “They punched me. They punched me in the face.”

Metro said a bystander near the Chanticleer bar tried to intervene. That person was also attacked and had to be hospitalized for his injuries, according to Metro. Metro was shaken but not badly hurt, he said.

William Metro in July. The magician has been attacked three times since mid-August. (Jeff Stein/IthacaVoice)

A third incident occurred over Labor Day weekend. The same group came back to Metro, this time before the bar rush, and threatened him.

They then pushed over his stand, though this time he wasn’t physically attacked.

“They’re ignorant,” he said of his assailants. “They’re just ignorant.”

Ithaca police Officer Jamie Williamson said he could confirm at least one of the attacks. He said there could be more that he hadn’t been notified of.

Metro said he has called police after each attack. After the last one, the young men were warned by the police. Metro has not been harassed since then, he said.

Metro often labors alone on the street until after the bars close at 1 a.m. before driving to his home to Newfield. He works 15 hour days, seven days a week and on holidays.

“In business, you got to be everywhere, all the time,” said Metro, 37, a die-hard Republican with a proud work ethic, in an interview for an Ithaca Voice profile in July.

“This is my business. I created it. It’s my job. And I can go out here and make money.”

The string of attacks is frustrating, Metro said. But the magician is undeterred from his work — in part, Metro said, because he is not intimidated by the young men.

“I wasn’t scared,” he said. “I’m not scared of those guys.”


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.