Living in Manhattan means living with rats. We’ve all seen our fair share of them. And recently, the city Department of Health issued a report on which Manhattan neighborhoods have the most.
Sounds Park Noise.
Fade up, then under
The other morning, at about 5:30. I went to Columbus Park on the Lower East Side – the neighborhood with the second-highest number of rat infestations, according to the report.
Park fade up, then under
There was some trash scattered about. Traps in some of the brush.
Sound of footsteps (Fade Up scattered)
And sure enough, a few rats scattered into bushes and their burrows at the sound of my footsteps
Sound of bushes
The report says rat infestations through Manhattan have declined. But not everyone agrees that it means there are fewer rats. Robert Jackson is the city council representative for Washington Heights, one of the neighborhoods with the highest number of rat infestations, according to the report. He says the report records only rat infestations the health department has been able to confirm.
Reported incidents may have decreased, but that doesn’t mean // The rat problem has decreased.
What that means is the number of residents who have called the city’s 311 hotline to report rats has increased. But those reports aren’t included in official city statistics, unless the department of health can confirm them. In some neighborhoods, like parts of Midtown, there are nearly 20 times as many complaints as the city can confirm. Residents of Washington Heights and Inwood, the other neighborhood at the top of the list, which are part of community board 12, say they’re sick of the rats. The neighborhoods are densely populated and have plenty of hills and parks where rats can hide
It’s the way God made this district.
Ebenezer Smith works for community Board 12. He says this district needs more attention from the city.
We need a special operation here. That doesn’t happen at this time because of the budget cuts,etc. etc. So, the city’s working in a flat…that apply to all the budget.
Smith’s talking about budget cuts that slashed the department of health’s rat management team by two-thirds, while the rat reports called into 311 have increased. But ultimately, human behavior is what attracts the rodents. Rat expert Ralph Maestre says negligent building management can lead draw them inside – and not every super is on his game.
I’ve seen city supers allow the garbage in the compacter room to fill up to the 3rd, 4th floor of a building before they take the garbage out.
Maestre says residents of buildings like that can keep food away from rats.
If you have vegetables on the countertop. They’ll jump up there. If you have meat on the countertop, they’ll jump up there. And they’re very good climbers.
We reached out to the City Department of Health several times to find out in effort to find out more about its report on rats in Manhattan. The Department never responded. We’ll have a follow-up on Uptown Radio, if they get back to us.