The fight broke out shortly before 9:30 p.m. in front of the New York Times building at 41st Street and Eighth Avenue, but the chaotic scene spanned several blocks in the busy area.
“I saw the argument over here, and then they chased them over here,” witness Frank Marti told CBS2. “They start wrestling, tussling, knives come out, slicing, stabbing.”
Marti said one man was even wielding some kind of metal wrench.
“The one that tried to stab was getting hit with a tire iron… He got tackled into the bikes,” Marti said. “It’s scary.”
Police arrived to break things up, pulling three men apart. The fourth called for 911 for help a few blocks away.
They were all taken into custody. At least three are facing charges.
“The cop had a gun, he was ordering them to lay on the ground,” Marti said. “One with a beige jacket was trying to creep up and get away. He caught him – ‘no, no, no, get down.’”
The men are believed to be in their 20s and 30s and possibly homeless.
It’s unclear what prompted the fight, but police said it was not random and the suspects knew each other.