The Upper West Side has long been a veritable safe zone for rats, but in this post-Pizza Rat world, things have apparently escalated. "It's like the Burning Man of rats," UWS resident Nora Prentice told AP about the hive of garbage-craving rats hanging around her neighborhood. "They're just sitting there in a lawn chair waiting for you. I don't know what the city can do about this rat condominium. It's really gross."

AP reports that with the city on pace for a record year of rat calls in 2015—exceeding the more than 24,000 over each of the last two years—the city really is trying to do something about its rat problem. And as we've learned the hard way, they can't rely on pigeons to do the work for them. AP writes about Comptroller Scott Stringer's efforts to battle our rat overlords:

Such gripes have found an advocate in Comptroller Scott Stringer, the city's top financial officer, who has taken on the self-appointed role of rat czar. In separate audits over the past two years, he has criticized the city's health department for not responding quickly enough to rat complaints, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the subways, for not cleaning stations more regularly. Such breakdowns, he says, have allowed rats to thrive.

"I've seen rats walking upright, saying, 'Good morning, Mr. Comptroller," he said. "It's unsightly to see rats running through neighborhoods like they actually bought a co-op somewhere."

While Manhattan's best scientists are still trying to figure out why rats love roaming through our legs and our faces, attempts at pinning down the exact number of rats in the city have been for nought so far. Statistician Jonathan Auerbach compiled a NYC rat census last year, debunking the urban myth that there is a 1:1 ratio of rats to humans.

But beyond that, experts say it's impossible to accurately estimate the number. "There's no way to do that," said Caroline Bragdon, a city's health department scientist and resident rat expert. Bragdon believes that the spike in rat complains and sightings this year is due to extra garbage left on sidewalks during last winter's snowfalls, and that it's also much easier to complain to 311 now that it has a smartphone app.

Bragdon is the person in charge of the city's War On Rats, compiling a "rat index" and focusing on rat-prevention measures. She and her team of nearly 50 people are working with a nearly $3 million budget to root out rats:

Mayor Bill de Blasio's new "rat reservoir" plan targets communities with the highest number of rat complaints and seeks to dismantle habitats and food sources. That effort includes setting traps, installing rodent-resistant trash cans and working on legislation that would require restaurants to hose away sludge from dripping garbage.

For now, to play it safe, we'll continue to blend in with our rat overlords the best we can.