WEST VILLAGE — A 72-year-old man was punched in the face in an apparently random attack in the West Village Monday afternoon, police said.
The victim, identified by sources as Donald Lathrom, was knocked to the ground with a single hit as he walked past a man waiting in front of 99 Jane St., a doorman building in a residential part of the Village between Washington Street and West Street.
Lathrom, a dog walker who a friend said once drove a cab, lives nearby, sources said.
Melvin Smith, 63, said he has been Lathrom's neighbor for 17 years.
"Don's just a very, very nice guy, sweet hearted," Smith said. ''We're New York Giants fans, so we hang out together. We follow football. We talk about the games. He's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.''