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    For other uses of New York, see New York (disambiguation)
    For other uses of Initiative, see Initiative (disambiguation)
    New York Initiative
    Seal of the New York Initiative
    Team Statistics
    Group New York Initiative
    Category Investigators, Patrollers, De-escalators, Martial Artists, Cyber Investigators
    Headquarters New York City, New York, USA 39° 12' 50.01" N, 79° 38' 13.60" W
    Status Active
    Team Activity
    Leader Collaborative Leadership Model
    Members Berylvale
    Spectral Hawk
    Foes Apathy
    Actions Fundraising, homeless outreach, safety patrol

    The New York Initiative (NYI) is a group of Real Life Superheroes in New York City. They are the founding branch of The Initiative Collective. They became infamous for their unconventional approach to fighting crime and apathy, and for not employing superhero-style identities while working with the public. NYI co-founder Zero, in particular, continually eschewed the term "superhero," preferring instead "extreme altruist", or "X-Alt" for short.[1][2] The NYI was featured in the Documentary "Superheroes" by Michael Barnett[3], which premiered in January of 2011 at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.[4]

    Despite being initially denounced by members of both the RLSH community and law enforcement, many of the NYI's tactics have gone on to be utilized by similarly-minded individuals and groups worldwide, such as the use of "grey man" patrols and the teaching of self-defense skills to vulnerable people in at-risk areas.


    The Beginning

    Founded on October 3, 2009[5], the original incarnation of the NYI was formed as a collaborative effort by Zero (PA), Zimmer (TX), Lucid (PA), and TSAF (Detroit, MI), who all relocated to New York for the express purpose of combating violent crime there. It was this lineup of the NYI that appeared in the "Superheroes" documentary.

    In this film, the group revealed their use of "bait patrols" to entice the homophobic and criminally-minded to reveal themselves by harassing an undercover NYI member (often Zimmer) - a tactic denounced by at least one NYPD detective as "entrapment."[6]

    Long Island Serial Killer

    In April of 2011, in response to the Long Island Serial Killer's murders of 10 women, all sex workers, the NYI took out an advertisement on CraigsList, offering martial arts and improvised weapons training to sex workers, free of charge.[7][8]

    Branching Out

    Finding like-minded members around the country, the NYI opened up its first satellite branch in Virginia in June of 2011,[9] overseen by Ira Ui'Raghallaigh ("O'Reilly") and Deaths Head Moth. This also began the practice of abbreviating each new branch by using each's state abbreviation, followed by "I".

    In August of the same year, Zero offered another branch to established RLSH NightBug and Rock N Roll in Northern California, thus activating the third NYI offshoot: The California Initiative: San Francisco[10], and creating what would come to be known as The Initiative Collective. The CAI's use of superhero-style gimmicks would drive the NYI to experiment with personified members in other locations as the Initiative continued to expand across the country.

    Occupy Wall Street

    From early October to mid-November of 2011, the NYI became heavily involved with Occupy Wall Street. The group was approached and asked to provide organizational assistance and neutral security for the large encampment in Zuccotti Park, which was plagued by criminal activity both internally and externally.[11][12]


    According to co-founder Jack Zero, Zimmer left the NYI to return to Texas for a family legal issue. On March 4, 2012, Zimmer released a statement on her personal Facebook page addressing her departure from the team, further commenting that she "either quit or was kicked out, depending on who you ask. Suffice to say it was mutual."[13].

    TSAF left the group to pursue a career in cinematic production while founding member Lucid moved to Alaska to take care of his father.[14] In April of 2012, he went on to co-found the California Initiative: Los Angeles with Deimos[15]. NYI member Short Cut also joined the CAI:LA for a time thereafter.

    Response to Anti-Gay Attacks

    The New York Initiative began regular patrols of Greenwich Village and the West Village in June of 2013 in response to the killing of gay Harlem resident Mark Carson, 33, and several beatings of gay men across the city.[16] [17]

    T.R.I.B.E. and the Hero Initiative

    Due to ongoing internal tension, the NYI separated itself from The Initiative Collective as a whole - and from superhero-style imagery altogether - in 2013, and began using the name "T.R.I.B.E.". The resulting schism drove the remaining branches to adopt the name "Hero Initiative", and NYI member Spectre to assume management of the New York branch. After nearly two years, amends with Zero were made in late 2015, leading all branches to reunite under the original "Initiative" banner.

    The Ronin

    In April of 2016, on-and-off-again NYI member Dark Guardian left to start his own team, the New York Ronin, which eventually branched out into several satellite groups around the United States.[18][19] Following this split, Rover is named as the new leader of the NYI [20]

    New Lineup

    In December of 2020, the NYI showcased four members of its New York-based street team, featuring King Owl, D3V1L, Sig, and Apex.[21][22] . The roster later expanded to include a cyber research division, consisting of heroes from across the country. [23]In April of 2023, the team announced they would be severing ties with the rest of the Initiative Collective due to logistical differences. [24]

    Former Members



    14. "Facebook: Jack Z Cero".

    External Links

    Facebook (UNAVAILABLE 4/17/2024)
    Twitter YouTube Instagram Website Email

    NY Daily News: "Real-life ‘superhero’ group works to keep New York’s streets and subways safe"

    Bleeding Cool: "The New York Initiative – Real Life Superheroes Hit The Headlines"