‘More rats than residents’ at one NYCHA development in East Harlem, tenants say

EAST HARLEM, Manhattan — Rats are running under parked cars at the Washington Houses in a city parking lot in East Harlem. Some in the area say rats take over at night and even during the day.

“Every night there are dozens under my car,” said Theodore Barikdar, who has a minivan.

Barikdar was assigned a parking space right next to a pile of trash, he said. The area become a feeding ground for dozens of sewer rats.

He is not alone. Luis Jimenez and Manuel Medina say they park their cars in the same NYCHA parking lot.

“I’ve had rats walking on top of my car,” said Jimenez.

The rat problem is a health hazard, Washington Houses Tenant Association President Claudia Perez said.

“It’s not just this building, it’s 14 buildings," Perez said. "I can show you huge rat holes in every single one of these buildings."

What can be done? Maybe better rat-resistant trash cans? And what about extermination?

According to the New York City Housing Authority, it takes an average of ten days for exterminators to get to and complete a job. That's an improvement from last year when it took 12 days.

A NYCHA spokesperson says: At 219 East 97th Street, staff has conducted regular exterminations to address issues with rodents. Treatment is ongoing and includes other buildings in the development. Exterminators are scheduled to treat grounds again this week, per current regular schedule. Staff collects waste daily and addresses overnight waste the following morning.

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