Detectives are canvassing the neighborhood for leads after releasing surveillance video of the suspect.
He is seen hiding in a vestibule, moments after he allegedly tried to rape a 20-year-old NYU student on Thompson Street.
She told detectives she was walking alone, with headphones on, at 1 a.m. on Tuesday.
Then, she was dragged between two parked cars where the man tried to assault her.
But he took off, stealing her bag, after she screamed and resisted. Then he hid in the vestibule where he removed his coat before leaving, calmly, as if nothing had happened.
"She was approached by an individual from behind punched in the head, attempted to drag her into an area. She was inappropriately touched and then the individual ran away," Police Commission Ray Kelly said.
Women Eyewitness News spoke with said it's a reminder to be vigilant. Even in neighborhoods that have long been regarded as safe.
The victim was treated for injuries to her face.
The suspect seen on the surveillance camera is described as a black male with long hair that was pulled back in a pony tail. He was last seen wearing a dark plaid jacket over a gray shirt.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).