Won't someone think of the rats?! After all, Frank "Rat Man" Calzarano is only one man—for over a decade he's risen at dawn to bring food to the poor needy rats on the Lower East Side, particularly in the vicinity of Stanton Street. But New York City's rat community has thousands, perhaps millions, of desperate rodents, and Calzarano can't feed them all himself, try as he might. And if one area woman has her way, Calzarano's rats will be left to starve in the gutter.
Calzarano has been feeding the rats for years, scattering breadcrumbs throughout the Lower East Side for them. The Post, in typical ratist fashion, describes the creatures as "creepy," and says Carlzarano has been spotted letting rats "climb up his leg and nibble out of his hands." What's so crazy about that? It's not like he's stuffing them in his mouth (as far as we know). Back in 2007, Calzarano explained his passion for rats to writer David Goodwillie [pdf]:
I came here December 16, 1955. I dreamed of doing a lot of interesting things and I did. I did a lot of traveling, checking restaurants, back alleys, red districts, everything. I was in the military. I took it as a joke. You have to take it as a joke, because a lot of people come out with mental illness. They come back crazy. They hear voices, stuff like that. I always wanted to have a simple job so I could study things. Like the rats. No one can feed them better than me. I feel I’m doing something productive. I’m not bothering anybody.
But the Lower East Side isn't what it used to be, and now some of the residents want to price the rats out. "This one man is holding us all hostage," Stanton Street resident Deborah Gonzalez tells the tabloid. "He walks around the neighborhood at 4 or 5 a.m. with bags of bread. He shoves it down the drain or throws it over the fence in front of my window." Gonzalez believes Calzarano is targeting her because she's complained to the local constabulary about his rat philanthropy.
Unfortunately for Gonzalez, there's nothing the police can do! As Police Capt. Gerard Dowling of the Fifth Precinct tells the Post, it is simply not against the law to feed rats. Calzarano, for his part, insists he hasn't fed any rats in months, mainly because a certain someone put poison in the bread. So if he hasn't been feeding them, who is to blame for the area's indomitable rat population? Something tells us Calzarano's been up to his old tricks—and this is all part of his ingenious plan to charge Gonzalez a princely sum for leading all his rats over to the west side with his magical pipe.