The Upper West Side is the Burning Man of rats; Carroll Gardens has rats living inside their plumbing; and the Lower East Side has taken to extreme measures to try to combat their growing rodent population. But like Alexander The Great, the rats won't be satisfied until they've conquered all five boroughs (though it is unclear whether they too are in love with Jared Leto). So the question is: what neighborhood will the rats take over next?
Thanks to the latest rat data, we have some idea of where rats are clustering this year. The Post reports that NYers have made 8,335 rodent complaints to 311 so far this year, up 18 percent from the same period in 2015, and a 39 percent increase over same period in 2014. Despite the mayor pledging over $3 million toward escalating New York's war on rats, it just doesn't seem to be working out quite yet.
As for where the rat complaints are coming from: there have been 2,542 complaints in Brooklyn this year, 2,269 in Manhattan, 1,917 in The Bronx, 1,291 in Queens, and just 316 in Staten Island. And the three worst individual spots came from three distinct neighborhoods: Mott Haven in The Bronx, East Harlem in Manhattan, and Midwood in Brooklyn. If you happen to live in any of these areas, you may want to consider investing in some eagles, hawks or trained terriers.
If you want to get even more freaked out, take a look through the interactive data set map below created by Jowanza Joseph, which shows that rat sightings have increased steadily over the last six years. Among his conclusions: rat sightings are most prevalent on Mondays, there are a lot of rat sightings in Bushwick in particular, and they were more-often-than-not spotted in 3+ family apartment buildings ("A large portion of housing, especially in Brooklyn is of this type").
Public Advocate Letitia James must have seen the same report we saw, since she sent out this call for more resources to combat rat infestations late this afternoon:
Rats are not new to our City, but they are bigger and more troublesome than ever before. As New York grows, we cannot allow the rats to grow with us, we must control these pests once and for all. I am calling for increased inspections and exterminations in response to constituent complaints, expanded sanitation services so garbage is not left on the street, and more abatement of rats by the MTA.