HOWARD BEACH — Gary Russo, a construction worker who gained notoriety for his Frank Sinatra-like voice while working on the Second Avenue Subway in 2011, has been missing for two weeks, the NYPD said.
Russo, a 54-year-old resident of Howard Beach, was last seen on July 28 before he walked out of his home on 90th Street at about 1:15 a.m., police said
Russo's sister-in-law, Lee Russo, who lives with Russo, said she saw him leaving their home that night looking "very despondent." He had been going through a breakup with his girlfriend, she said.
"Everybody is out looking for him," Lee Russo said. "We're hoping he took off to clear his head."
Police have been searching for Gary Russo with their K9 Unit and helicopters but to no avail, she added.
On Monday, Gary Russo's ex-wife, Tracy Russo, discovered his black Dodge Dakota parked in the weeds of Howard Beach near 165th Avenue, but when she looked inside, he wasn't there, she said.
"I lost my mind and started crying hysterically," Tracy Russo said of discovering the car empty. "I'm obviously devastated."
Tracy and Gary Russo were married for 18 years before they divorced four years ago, she said. They have two daughters who are 21 and 12 years old, she added.
"[He] was a wonderful father, a great friend and hard worker who always wanted to be there for everybody and help anybody he could," she said.
Russo was spotlighted in the media a few years ago when he was discovered singing jazz standards while at work on the Second Avenue Subway at 86th Street — earning him the title the "Second Avenue Sinatra."
He still sings, Tracy Russo said, adding that he's performed at various restaurants in the city.
Gary Russo's day job is working for Kiewit Construction, she said. He was working on the construction of the Bayonne Bridge in New Jersey before he disappeared. He hasn't been showing up to work since then though, Tracy Russo said.
"It's definitely unlike him," she said. "He would at least call to tell them he wouldn't be there."
Kiewit Construction did not immediately respond to request for information.
Tracy Russo said her ex had been talking about being depressed before he vanished, but the last time she saw him at this home on July 23, he appeared to be feeling better, she said.
"He hasn't been feeling well," she said. "He had been depressed and speaking to his friends and family about how depressed he was. He wasn't happy at work and felt maybe he wasn't doing enough."
Police are still searching for Gary Russo. He's described as standing 5-foot-9 and weighing 189 pounds, officials said.