It was bound to happen. As rats invade the Upper West Side, they seek out places where they can find food. And where can you find people whose tiny hands sometimes fumble on their way to their tiny mouths?
A mother posted on the blog Lollitot last week: “This morning my two girls and I were leaving River-Run playground on W 83rd street and Riverside Drive when we came face to face with a gang of rats.”
A gang! She took a video of one of the rodents, which we’ve posted down below.
Lollitot named other apparently infested areas, including the Wild West playground on 93rd Street and Central Park West, and Strauss Park on 106th Street.
We also heard from a mother named Katherine yesterday about a pretty gross situation at the popular Hippo Playground on 91st Street in Riverside Park.
“I just had to leave the Hippo Playground because of the number of rats. They were running in and out of the turtle rock, round the edges, across the playground entrance. There were at least 8 large rats. It was very unpleasant and unhealthy.”
We contacted the city parks department and the Riverside Park Fund for comment. A parks department spokeswoman wrote:
“We’ve recently reduced the number of trash cans in the playground and surrounding areas and installed rat resistant trash cans in their place to reduce access to food. Our exterminator is evaluating the situation at the playground and we’ll take appropriate action.”
The spokeswoman didn’t specify whether poison will be used to kill the rats. Hawk-lovers have argued against the parks department using rat poison because of its tendency to kill birds too. But it might be time to do something a little more aggressive. These playground rats make our cheeky playground raccoons seem almost quaint. We don’t need to see rat gangs recreating West Side Story in our playgrounds, do we?