Upper West Siders have a funny way of reacting to rats. It brings out our theatrical side. The “rat house” on 74th street inspired art. A construction site at 52 West 76th Street, however, is now inspiring a new kind of civic protest.
Joseph Bolanos, a longtime neighborhood activist, has been hanging “Rat Xing” signs on poles this week. Bolanos, who spoke initially to Gothamist, said that a construction site there has become a kind of nighttime playground for rats, and the city has done next to nothing to combat the problem. A rat academy a few weeks ago drew interested citizens who wanted to learn about pest prevention, but the people who actually show up to these things aren’t likely to be the ones who are leaving their trash out.
Construction workers also apparently didn’t do much to clean up their lunches, helping attract the rodents. “It was like a rat buffet,” he told Gothamist. One woman actually stepped on and squished a rat, says Bolanos. We’ve seen other construction sites with similar problems, including the “Rat Palace” of Riverside Park.
Rat Palace? Rat House? Rat Crossing? What a surge of creativity! Perhaps the rodents are the Upper West Side’s true muse.
Bolanos shot some video of the rats of 76th street below:
Let us know about your rat sightings in the comments below.