The victim was walking in front of 28 East 33rd Street at about 7 a.m. on Saturday when she was approached from behind by the man.
He grabbed the woman with both hands around the throat, pushed her against a storefront gate, and pulled down his pants, attempting to rape her, police said.
The woman struggled with the suspect and was able to break free of his grip. The man then ran away.
The woman suffered a cut to her head.
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Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.