Contrary to what us New Yorkers may think, NYC actually isn’t the rattiest city in America. Nevertheless, we’ve been in an ongoing war with these pesky rodents.
Back in April of last year, NYC selected Kathleen Corradi as NYC’s first-ever ‘rat czar,’ and it seems like she’s been sufficiently getting the job done.
According to the NYC Department of Sanitation, rat sightings are down 6% citywide, though certain areas of the city show that sightings are down even more.
Within the 10-block area in Hamilton Heights, where the city had set out containers to address the rat issue, sightings are down 68%, and they’re down 16% in neighborhoods that were declared “rat mitigation zones,” in which extra resources were given to help eliminate rat sightings.
The department also stated that the decrease during the months after the containerization rules began going into effect is the largest year-over-year decrease in almost 15 years!
The containerization effort went into effect in July of last year, mandating all food-related businesses to put their trash in secured containers.
At the time the new law was implemented, DSNY Commissioner Tisch stated, “New York is the home of the best restaurants in the world. I know it, you know it – and the rats know it, too. When you leave food behind, they’re ready for a gourmet meal, with the black bags outside food-related businesses basically serving as a to-go box for the rats. That ends now.”
Between the commercial containerization effort and sweeping new residential rules, 70% of the city’s trash is headed into containers, cutting off the 24-hour rat buffet.
The war isn’t over yet, though!
“In 2024, more bins are coming citywide, whether the rats like it or not,” said DSNY. Containerization rules will take effect citywide on March 1st, 2024, and we have a feeling this will decrease rat sightings even more.
If you’re making a personal effort to avoid rats at all costs, this app tracks just how ‘ratty’ each NYC subway station is, and this map shows you where rats have been hanging out in NYC.
On the flip side, if you’d like to get up close and personal with them, the self-proclaimed “Rat Daddy” will take you on late night rat tours around the city.