BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn – New Yorkers take their rats seriously! So seriously, a “Rat Summit” was held Thursday at Restoration Plaza in Bed-Stuy, one of the most rat infested neighborhoods in the city.
It was hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, along with City Council Member Robert Cornegy, other city officials and pest control experts. Everyone who attended had a rat story, even Adams himself.
“I can’t even tell you how many times I open my gate and there are uninvited guests,” Adams said. “Anyone who knows me, knows I hate rats.”
If you’re a New Yorker, no doubt you’ve seen them. We’re not talking cute - we’re talking big ones, in buildings, in the subways and on school grounds. Who can forget pizza rat? That rat shot to national fame. Pretty much anywhere in the city, rats live amongst us.
“When you’re walking to your car and you open your garbage and they’re laying there like playing possum, yeah it’s a problem,” long-time Bed-Stuy resident Vera Foster said.
Over a hundred people attended Thursday night's summit.
“I hope to learn a solution to this problem," Theresa Bell, who’s lived in the area since 1970, said. She's never seen the rat problem so bad.
"It needs to be dealt with." she said. "It’s deplorable."
She said she even had to take her daughter out of an after-school program because of the vermin.
“It was this big and I was terrified,” Bell’s daughter, Anastasia Garcia told PIX11. “I was going home from my after-school program when this huge rat ran over my feet.”
Residents learned ways to control the population at the summit.
In April, Mayor Bill de Blasio showed off special trash cans for dealing with rats while announcing a crackdown on the rodents. It’s part of a $32 million initiative to combat the rat population.
City officials even demonstrated how dry ice can be used to suffocate vermin in their holes.
Frustrated residents say no matter how hard they work to keep their homes clean, you can’t control the surrounding public areas or your neighbors.
“It’s all the construction causing them to move and then they have to find someplace else to live,” Foster said.
The discussion soon became about who’s responsible. Residents want the city to pay for more pest control and things like steel trash cans and also, raise fines for building owners over improper trash management.
“There’s nothing these homeowners can do to cure this rat problem the city has to take care of the rat problem it’s their rats,” shouted one woman in the audience.