New Yorkers are officially taking the war on rats into their own hands, but how and why did it get this bad?
New York City is known for a number of things, its iconic yellow taxis, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and, regrettably, its rats.
Lamento desilusionarlos 👋 #nyc
Rats have always been present in NYC, along with most large cities, but in the last few years, the rat problem has only gotten worse.
A Pest Ridden History
Rats arrived in New York in the late 18th century, likely brought over by international shipping. It’s assumed that at least half of the ships arriving in NYC ports were infested.
In recent years, there have been more and more complaints filed regarding the vermin. This is often attributed to the pandemic.
Between more residents working from home, hence more trash bags on the sidewalk, and budget cuts to the Sanitation Department in 2020, the issue only worsened.
Attempts at Solutions
New York officials have made several attempts to curb the growth of the rat population.
In 2022, authorities requested residents to exclusively take out their trash during nighttime, aiming to restrict the hours waste remained exposed on the sidewalks. Additionally, they placed rat traps throughout the city, including in subways, sewers, and around businesses.
A number of Big Apple mayors have attempted to deal with the rat problem, but Mayor Eric Adams made headlines for hiring an official ‘Rat Czar’.
Although ‘Rat Czar’ is only a nickname for the true title of Director of Rodent Mitigation, the woman appointed has one job: get rid of the rats.
Battling ‘Croc Sized’ Rats
Now residents are taking the matter into their own hands, to battle the “croc sized” rats.
The first ever ‘Anti-Rat Day of Action’ took place in Harlem on August 12th. New York’s sanitation department, among others, showed up to teach residents how to keep the pests away.
This Harlem local told CBS New York about recent rodent sightings. Most notably, the concerned citizen said, “We’ve had rats the size of Crocs, just running up and down the street.” She continued, “Like a Croc shoe. An average size 8…”
The ‘Rat Czar’, Kathleen Corradi, spoke on her plan to curb the infestation, saying, “Rats need food water and shelter to survive. Today we’re gonna cut off their food source and reduce their habitat.”
Authorities have advised residents to utilize containers to prevent rats from accessing exposed bags, and they have recommended composting to decrease the volume of trash on the streets.
There is no easy solution to the rat problem in the Big Apple. Old plumbing, subways, and weather conditions make New York City the ideal place to start a rat family.
Unfortunately, many remain unconvinced. However, a great deal of New Yorkers are hoping the Rat Czar will be able to help wipe the rodents out.