The brownstone at 120 West 74th Street has inspired anger among neighbors and creativity among artists since it went downhill a few years back. Rats were constantly seen scurrying around the abandoned building, nibbling on trash. The scene even inspired an artist to paint the words “The Rat House” on the outside of the brown building with an image of an adorable little rat rivaling Remy from the movie Ratatouille.
But times are a-changing at the Rat House. A pile of dead rats showed up about a month ago in front of the building, one of our tipsters told us — “which is a good (albeit disgusting) sign.” And sometime in the past few weeks, “some man” came and painted over the image of the rat.
Upper West Side real estate being what it is, neighbors might have rejoiced that their neighborhood is no longer associated with vermin. But one neighbor had a different reaction: “I miss the painting – it had become a neighborhood landmark of sorts with people saying ‘I live 3 buildings down from the rathouse.'”
Steven Swancoat, a local artist and doctor, sent us the photo above of the now-clean building. In addition, the building got a ticket for having unwrapped mattresses out in front of the building (photos below).
All the changes have residents buzzing that the building may have been sold by the 553 West 174th St. LLC that bought it in 2010. But city records show no sale, and a lawyer for the LLC never got back to us.