A new survey of Manhattan residents shows that rats are still scurrying all over the place – with Harlem taking the top spot for the “rattiest” neighborhood in the borough.
“First bedbugs, now rats – and always crime. It’s all a part of New York. I’m not shocked, I’ll tell you that,” said 20-year-old Harlem student Maria Rodrigues.
Out of 200 people polled by pest control company d-CON, 24% said they thought Harlem had the most rats.
That was followed by the lower East Side with 18% and Washington Heights with 10%.
“There are rats everywhere,” said Radhames Santos, 30, of Washington Heights. “They’re like cats.”
The survey, however, found the problem was widespread, with neighborhoods all over Manhattan being overrun by rodents.
In Hell’s Kitchen – which came in fourth place with 9% – residents say it sometimes feels like the persistent pests are lurking around every corner.
“I’ve seen people standing on cars screaming. They come out of the basement and run all over the streets,” said 53-year-old Nick Apongalook. “It doesn’t matter if it’s garbage day or not. It’s a pandemic.”
Of those polled, 25% said the first thing they do when they see a rat is scream. Some brave souls – 21% of those who responded – said they try to chase or catch the creatures.
Another 15% set traps, while 5% say they get a cat.
“Some of my friends have had problems in their houses. They are always buying traps,” said 27-year-old Jennifer Rolon, a Washington Heights teaching assistant.
The city Health Department said it is keenly aware of the problem and has been working on new initiatives to battle rats.
A pilot screening program in the Bronx has resulted in an 83% decrease in the number of properties reporting rodent infestations, the department said.
The program was expanded into Manhattan and Queens earlier this year.
For Manuel Parkas, 40, of Harlem, there’s only one solution. “It is very simple. If you keep your home clean, you won’t have any rats to deal with. If you do not, you will have rats to deal with,” he said.
Thomas Canty, a 34-year-old livery cab driver from Harlem, said none of this should surprise anyone. “Man, rats have been all over New York forever. That ain’t nothing new,” he said.
“Rattiest” neighborhoods in Manhattan:
- Harlem – 24%
- Lower East Side – 18%
- Washington Heights – 10%
- Hell’s Kitchen – 9%
- Upper East Side – 8%
- East Village – 7%
- Financial District – 7%
- Chelsea – 4%
- West Village – 4%