A 31-year-old woman coming from a yoga class was attacked with a machete by a homeless man in Bryant Park on Tuesday, police said.

The woman suffered a substantial gash to her right arm at about 11:30 a.m., near 42nd Street, and she was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center in stable condition. The suspect, 43-year-old Frederick Young, apparently approached the woman from behind, authorities said.

"There were customers walking [one] way and then all the sudden running the other way," said Maddie Stanley, 20, who works at the COFFEED stand near 40th Street. "We were like, should we duck?"

Park security then ran after Young before police, who were putting up barriers nearby, caught up with him. They told Young to drop the weapon, which he did, and took him into custody.

Young was charged with assault on Tuesday evening. Attorney information was not immediately available.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Young, who is a homeless, has 23 prior arrests, including one for menacing with machete about five years ago.

A video taken after the incident occurred showed a man wearing a sweatshirt with the words "New York" printed across it being restrained by police on the steps to the 40th Street park entrance. Police searched the man's pockets and emptied them. Another man in the footage held a large machete with the handle wrapped in what appeared to be plastic. 

"By the time we looked there were already police running over," said Erica Bourbag, who also works at the coffee stand. "It was scary."

The machete was recovered from the scene.

The attack appeared to be unprovoked and the man did not say anything to the victim before slashing her, police said.

By midday, Bryant Park was back to normal with hundreds of people playing games, eating lunch, and enjoying the sunny day.
(With Anthony M. Destefano)