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New York girl crushed at Grand Central regains her smile at New Jersey theme park

She has her smile back.

The 9-year-old Bronx girl who was too scared to go outside after a deranged homeless man beat her up at Grand Central Terminal regained her grin during a free ride to a New Jersey theme park this week.

Kimberly Tapia enjoyed mechanical animal rides, mini golf, mirror mazes and more at Nickelodeon Universe – the largest indoor theme park in the Western Hemisphere – at the invitation of American Dream mall on Monday.

Kimberly Tapia, 9, rode a mechanical unicorn at Nickelodeon Universe at the American Mall on Monday. Courtesy of the Tapia family

Moved by the Post's report on the teen, the American Dream team reached out to City Hall and NYPD officials to contact Kimberly's mother, Juana Tapia, to arrange the day, according to mall spokesman Gregg Schwartz.

“They called me and said, 'Let's go play,' and Kimberly was so excited,” Tapia told The Post.

“They took us to play, they bought us candy, they bought us teddy bears, they bought us ice cream. . . . They welcomed us very well,” recalls the 36-year-old mother. “She was very happy.”

In addition to the attractions, the Tapias enjoyed a free lunch at MrBeast Burger and a “candy raid” at IT'SUGAR, a three-story candy store, Schwartz said.

American Dream even wrote Kimberly's name on a giant bucket of slime, a Nickelodeon trademark.

“It was a special day that put a smile on the face of a child who needed some joy. We were happy to brighten her day and she brightened ours too,” Schwartz said.

A Nickelodeon slime bucket reads “American Dream Welcomes Kimberly Tapia.” Courtesy of the Tapia family
Kimberly (right) suffered a blow to the head from a confused homeless man in Grand Central Terminal on April 13. JC Rice

Members of the National Latino Police Officer Advocate Association even accompanied the Tapias from their home in the Bronx to the East Rutherford location and back.

Officers had some advice for the young woman after the April 13 attack that left her injured and traumatized.

“They told her: 'Don't be afraid, you're fine, everything will be fine,'” recalled Juana Tapia, adding: “That surprised me.” [Kimberly] It was fun because before we left she was still scared.”

Additional reporting by Tina Moore

Anna Harden

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