UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — They’re five words now being asked widely throughout New York City: Who is the rat czar?
The question is being asked frequently now in response to Mayor Eric Adams’s comments on Thursday about his selection for the position that’s been open since he first announced it last December.
He confirmed on Thursday that his czar is actually a czarina — a woman. Other than that, details remain as few as the demands for the job remain numerous. One thing is certain, though, the city has plenty of rats — 2 million, according to various analyses — and rat issues.
An Upper West Side resident, Joe Arbo, explained how the rodents had affected him personally.
“The rats nested in my engine and ate through my hose today,” Arbo said, describing how the pests had damaged his car under its hood. “You could see where the rats had tried nesting on either side of my engine.”
Arbo is also the gardener at Straus Park, on Broadway at West End Avenue. In the ground, there, rat trails and rat burrow holes are quite visible, along with multiple black box rat traps.
The Upper West Side is among the New York City neighborhoods with the highest number of rat complaints. As a result, many residents have a message for the soon-to-be-named rat czar.
“You have to be willing to do it,” said Regine Jean-Mary, an Upper West Side resident. “[It should be] something you like to do because it’s not going to be an easy task. There are really big, huge rats.”
The advertisement for the rat czar job called for someone with a “killer instinct” to kill the vermin. On Thursday, Adams mentioned at a rat eradication event in The Bronx that he’d had a recent conversation with the person he’d selected from thousands of applications. He said that “she made it very clear — ‘I hate rats.'”
The implication was clear that the city’s first rat czar would be a woman.
When pressed to identify the woman in PIX11’s weekly news broadcast on civic affairs, PIX on Politics, the mayor would only say:
“Look, I’m excited. We’re gonna be rolling that out.”
When asked if the new chief rodent fighter will have a name that New Yorkers will recognize, he answered, “Only if they’re around people that hate rats.”