FLUSHING — Emergency officials searched a small body of water next to the Van Wyck Expressway Monday hoping to capture the elusive Flushing Meadows-Corona Park alligator — which has been trolling the park since August.
Divers from the NYPD's Emergency Service Unit swam through the water, near Meadow Lake, following reports of a reptile swimming near its edges, an NYPD spokesman said.
A Parks Department spokeswoman said its Urban Park Rangers are working with Animal Care Centers of NYC and will continue to monitor the site and attempt to snag the reptile using nets, snare poles and traps.
An official said the reptile appears to be an immature American Alligator, between 18 and 24 inches long.
The creek in which it has made its home — just like the other bodies of water at the park — is not open to swimmers.
Joe Genovese, 63, a mechanic at the nearby Wheel Fun Rentals, almost caught the alligator twice on his fishing rod, he said.
"I had him close," he said, after hooking it as it popped its head out near the swampy edges.
He said the alligator sightings hadn't impacted business at his shop, which rents bikes to ride around the park and boats to take out on Meadow Lake.
"It's not a threat to people," he said.
The former fisherman, who usually goes out for blue fish and fluke on the Long Island Sound, said he hoped to capture the alligator before it gets colder.
"It won't survive the winter," he said. "I'd like to catch it and have it relocated where it can survive."