Contrary to popular belief, it's easy to determine when you're officially a "New Yorker": It's the first time a pair of brawling rats runs over your foot while you're wearing sandals, OR the first time a rat falls from on high in a subway station and lands on your sleeping baby. That's it! That's how you know. Unfortunately, we're going to have to find a new barometer for New York toughness, because Mayor de Blasio is now escalating New York's war on rats.
According to the Daily News, de Blasio will announce today that he's committing $3 million to make permanent an e-rat-ication program deployed in seven ratty neighborhoods.
“What we’ve seen is, there are neighborhoods where no matter what building owners do, there is a ready supply of rats that live in parks, medians, or sewers that are there to replace them,” said Daniel Kass, Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Health, told the tabloid.
The pilot worked because it traces rats back to the places they gather—called, horribly, reservoirs. Rat reservoirs. Hey guys, do you want to go for a swim in the rat reservoir? She knelt by the rat reservoir and dipped her hand into its cooling...fur. I can't stop screaming.
Anyway, once workers have identified soothing, lapping rat reservoirs, they will bait the rats with either traps or poison, then "close up the areas."
And it will work: The test neighborhoods—which included East Harlem, the Upper West Side and the East Village—enjoyed up to 90 percent fewer rat sightings.
The Health Department initially invested $611,000 to deploy nine inspectors to quash the rat lagoons. "Rats burrow and live in colonies," Health Commissioner Mary Bassett told the City Council at the time. "I'll sometimes imagine when I walk through a park, if I could have sort of a 'rat vision,' there are all these tunnels under there that are occupied by rats. And from there the rats fan out." Your head sounds like a scary place, Ms. Bassett. Then again, can it really get any worse than this?