"People have seen them sitting on benches," says Andrew Albert, an MTA board member and chair of the NYC Transit Riders Council. "From what riders have told us, they appear to be getting bolder." That's the subway rat population he's talking about, which many commuters say is surging, at least according to an amNY article that's teeming with great quotes. "Next thing you know the doors are going to open and one is going to come on the train with us," one exterminator predicts.
Rats have been growing increasingly comfortable hanging out on subway platforms, with popular hot-spots including Chambers Street on the A, Jay Street-Borough Hall, West 4th Street, and Spring Street on the C – though rats who want to party on that exclusive platform have to agree to buy bottle. One theory is that increased interaction with people may, in a way, be domesticating the rats, or at least making them less fearful of humans. "They chase me to work," says straphanger Yvonne Ouchikh. The MTA blames the rat boom on an increase in subway ridership that's led to more litter.
Construction that disturbs the nests and water leaks also result in more rat sightings, which is fine by rat-watcher Joyce Gonzalez, a subway rider who tells amNY she spent some time last week observing a mother rat tend to her young at Brooklyn's Hoyt Street 2/3 station. "The mother was over by the garbage can. I think she was trying to get the babies some food. They were down on the tracks, three of them, little ones." Awww! "We need that little pipe that you blow and take them all to the river," Gonzalez added.