112808rizzo.JPGEast Village residents packed a community forum Wednesday night to vent about a surge in the local rat population. City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who co-hosted the meeting, declared that rats were "the largest growing population in the East Village." And Community Board 3 manager Susan Stetzer deemed the rat boom a "crisis...This year we didn’t even have the little Halloween parade in Tompkins Square Park for the kids because of all the rats."According to the Villager, Rick Simeone, director of pest-control services for the Health Department, says they stopped putting poison in the park due to concerns that hawks, squirrels or dogs would eat it. Instead, the city is promising to crack down on bars and restaurants who don't manage their trash properly. Meanwhile, gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhoods are crawling with rats, too!