The NYPD has released surveillance images of the incident Sept. 25 at J and A Hardware in the Longwood section.
Police say the suspects talked briefly with the 67-year-old store worker before they started knocking items off the shelves.
That led to a physical struggle and one of the suspects kicked the employee in the chest, causing him to fall back, knock his head on the pavement and lose consciousness.
The two fled the scene eastbound on Longwood Avenue. The owner of a pizza shop next door says the teens came into his place first, swearing at workers.
"The kids they came here and they start to touch the food and they touching the beef patties and the chips, yeah tried to looking for trouble," said Milton Javier.
The hardware store employee suffered a fractured orbital socket and abrasions to the back of the head.
He was taken to NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln in serious but stable condition. A month after the incident, the man told Eyewitness News that he is still recovering, is suffering from vertigo and has hearing loss in one ear.
Merchants say the victim took three weeks to return to work, still in pain.
"He's a really nice person," said one merchant. "He tries to help to everyone. He sees someone hungry, he always pays for food. And if somebody needs anything he always help to everyone."
Photos of the two suspects were released by police.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
Tips can also be submitted by visiting the CrimeStoppers website or Twitter @NYPDTips.
All calls are kept confidential.
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