Whether crawling over your face in the subway, investigating the Fairway olive bar or gracing the dinner table,the rat population of New York City is certainly not shy. But are our furry tormenters thriving so much that we have become resigned to their presence? We put together a map of where New Yorkers are picking up the phone and reporting rats to 311, and either New Yorkers have made peace with their incessantly copulating brethren or we're all Tea Leoni in Deep Impact and willing to let the rat wave wash over us for a numb farewell.
The Upper West Side, a neighborhood with no shortage of rodents, made plenty of noise, lodging around 1,000 complaints from 2010-2012. Residents of North Brooklyn also alerted the city about their own rat scourge, with Williamsburg and Bushwick each placing 800-900 calls to 311.
But in Lower Manhattan, the rats are winning the battle for weary New Yorkers' hearts and minds. The East Village and LES reported only 314 and 374 rat sightings respectively, which is less than the total number of rats gnawing on pizza slices and mob hits under a single square of sidewalk in those neighborhoods*. And most neighborhoods on the west side called in less than 200 rat sightings from 2010-2012. Not helping are locals who are feeding the rats as pets.
Last year, after short-staffing the DOH's Pest Control team, Mayor Bloomberg said he thinks "the problem probably is a lot better" based on the waning 311 complaints. But if you're like this blogger and have seen no shortage of scurrying on your block, try dialing 311 next time you see a furry friend. You can combat rodent complacency with this terrifying David Lynch-directed PSA to scare you into action.
*[Editor's note: Evidence based on countless, terrifying eyewitness accounts that led to ceding trash bin territory to Rattus norvegicus past 8 p.m., per the treaty of Just Please God Stay Out Of Our Immediate Living Quarters.]