Alisha Jordan is constantly reminded of her horrific encounter with a random attacker on Katonah Avenue in Woodlawn in July every time she sees her reflection. A red scar stretches across her eyebrows and she has little to no feeling in her forehead where a plastic surgeon has inserted ten metal plates.
Despite this, six weeks on from the frenzied attack, the 20-year-old’s spirits are high.
“I am feeling much better,” Jordan, originally from Skryne, Co. Meath, told the Irish Voice during a phone interview from her home in the Bronx on Monday. “I have got all the bandages off my face.
“Every single day I am happy to wake up and not have severe pain.”
Jordan was the target of a random attack as she and a friend made the short walk home along Katonah Avenue in Woodlawn in the early hours of Saturday, July 14.
“I was so close to being home,” Jordan recalls. “I had walked home plenty of times before this. Needles to say I have not since.”
Walking along Katonah Avenue, the two women noticed a man talking to himself outside Country Bank.
“I just thought he was another weirdo on drugs or whatever,” said Jordan, who works as a bartender in White Plains.
But moments later, with Jordan’s friend a few steps ahead of her, the man attacked the young woman with a concrete slab.
“It was just one blow,” she recalled. “He came from my right side swinging the brick around and hit me in the face.”
Alerted by the Jordan’s screams, her friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, immediately sprang into action. Charging at the attacker, she pulled the t-shirt from his back before he fled the scene. On July 24 the NYPD arrested Jordan's assailant and charged him with felony assault.
The young Irish immigrant was confused when she woke up in hospital surrounded by her friends.
“I was in severe pain once I woke up. I didn’t know what was going on, but waking up and seeing my friends was such a relief.”
With a single blow, Jordan’s attacker had broken her nose, skull, teeth and cheekbone. As well as the 15 stitches between her eyes, doctors informed her she would need extensive plastic surgery.
“It only hit me then what had happened.” Jordan recalls.
A close family friend made the phone call to Jordan’s home in Ireland with the bad news.
“They reacted very well considering they were 3,000 miles away,” Jordan said.
In the days following her attack, friends rallied around to help make arrangements for her mother and sister to come to New York. Despite having full knowledge of the extent of her injuries, Jordan’s mother was taken aback when she saw her daughter.
“Straight away she put her hand over her mouth, ‘My God what have they done?’ she asked.”
Now six weeks after the attack, Jordan is in recovering after recently undergoing a grueling seven hour surgery.
“The plastic surgeon said it went really well,” said an upbeat Jordan, who is in her third week of recovery after the operation.
“They inserted 10 plates in between my eyes, at my nose and just above my eyebrows. They had to completely remake my noise with metal.
“They said I may never get the feeling back in my forehead,” Jordan said. “But it’s a small price to pay.”
Jordan credits her recuperation with the support from her friends and family, but admits she is still very shaken by the attack.
“It’s been well over a month and I still cannot stay in the house on my own,” she said.
“I am not independent yet at all. He has taken that away from me.”
A former software development student, Jordan made the move to New York in early 2011 following her passion for GAA.
“I have been playing football all my life,” Jordan told the Irish Voice.
When the opportunity arose for her to come to the U.S. and play for Cavan, she jumped at the chance.
“Things were tough at home and I came out here and got a great job,” she said.
The doctors have advised her to take to stay away from sport and exercise for the next six months.
hey insist that the young player must wear a protective mask on her face for contact sports in the future.
“The doctors said there is no way I can play without the mask,” Jordan said.
For now, the Meath woman is concentrating on her recovery and is confident she can return to work in the coming months.
Paying tribute to her friends, and the Woodlawn and GAA community, Jordan insists she could not have made it through the crisis without them.
“I have been made laugh and smile since day one,” she reflects. “It’s really hard not to be positive when you have people like this around.”
A fundraising benefit to help Jordan to cover the medical costs associated with her attack will happen in November in Danny Macs. More details to follow.