The rat infestation on the Upper West Side has reached a new high low point: the furry creatures have been sighted in Fairway’s produce section! Fairway, on 74th and Broadway, is right in the midst of the rat triangle of death: it’s two blocks from the Rat House, about four blocks from Joe Bolanos’ Rat Crossing signs, and two blocks from Verdi Square, which is basically a rat vacation community.

On a recent night, My Upper West’s Mike filmed a rat running through a produce aisle in Fairway and posted the video (below) on YouTube, saying that he had seen at least two in the aisle at a time. The rats were apparently snagging peanuts from a low shelf. The market had a mouse trap out near the aisle, but it’s not clear if the owners knew the extent of the problem. After seeing the video they called it “unconscionable” and vowed to undertake a “thorough investigation” and take “immediate steps to remedy the situation.”

Check out the video:

Update: Fairway reached out to us on Monday via twitter, saying “We have a large crew working overnight to ensure we address this issue rapidly and thoroughly.” We asked for more info on how they were getting rid of the rats, and will update if we hear back.

Update 2: Two weeks later, a shopper videotapes a mouse/rat INSIDE olive bins at Fairway.

Community Board 7 has begun holding “Rat Academies” to inform people about how to eradicate the vermin. And Gale Brewer said last week that Verdi Square will soon get better rat-proof trash containers. But is it enough? And are we all just bellyaching about something that’s been around for decades? Let us know in the comments.

For all our coverage of rats on the Upper West Side, click here.

Photo illustration by Avi. Photo by SpecialKRB and clip art by Nicubunu.

FOOD, NEWS | 16 comments | permalink
    1. James says:

      Remind me to never order the ratatouille from there again.

    2. Robs says:

      I’m disgusted of course, but now I’m concerned about how the rat problem will be addressed. Through pesticide right alongside food? I don’t plan to visit Fairway for a while.

    3. Amy says:

      Honestly? It’s kind of amazing we aren’t all totally overrun with vermin (worse than roaches) considering how many people we have jammed into 100-year-old buildings.

      I worked at a big-name tourist destination years ago, in food service, and they had rats as well. Rats in my apartment and I would freak. Rats in the store…eh. I kind of assume it’s going to happen.

      All I can really say is, “Wash, wash, WASH that produce!”

    4. JosephB says:

      No, you are NOT bellyaching about the rat problem that’s been around for decades. THe difference today is that The Mayor, City Council and DOH (dept of health) are doing little or nothing to address and abate the rat problem in our city. The DOH is inept, understaffed and dysfunctonal as a city agency. It lacks focus, leadership and priority as it pertains to the “Health” of New Yorkers as it pertains to vermin…rats in particular. I even requested the Powerpoint presentation from DOH to distribute in our community and, not surprising, they promised it but didn’t deliver. And that Powerpoint was paid by taxpayer dollars! In fact, the DOH further promotes disinformation by claiming that construction is NOT the root cause of rat infestations. Nothing could be further from the truth. DOH commissioner should be fired and the agency should be revamped. It is a useless, bureaucratic juggernaut and, worse, elected officials continue to make excuses for it. New Verdi Park containers are a good start but common sense dictates that the low foliage (shrubs) throughout Verdi Park should be the first to go. They hide the endless rat burrows that pepper the park. So, NO! you are not making noise over an old problem. You are, in effect, shedding light on the inability of our city government to protect us. Thank you. You are a loud voice in a quiet room.

    5. Pedestrian says:

      The area between 72 and 79 has grown dirtier and dirtier over the last year or so. Construction projects running full tilt with concrete slurry sliding into the street drains so that a heavy rain turns the streets in to rivers. Demolitions carried out with out proper clean up seniding vermin into the streets. Verdi Square unwashed with over flowing trash cans while the City turns a blind eye to its own set of “quality of life crimes”. More development, more density but no thought for the life of the community, it is time for the City to pay more attention to the residents instead of developers.

      • RF says:

        Agreed. I live on Broadway in the 80s, and a walk down to 72nd Street is not nearly as pleasant as it used to be. It’s not just construction, either, although I’ve been crossing the street to avoid the giant site on the east side of Broadway. There are so many empty storefronts, which, in turn, have become camp sites for homeless people. LOTS of homeless people. And to top it off, one of my most disgusting NYC experiences happened a few months ago in Verdi Square. I looked down to check my phone (stupid, I know) and tripped on a GIANT dead rat. In the middle of the day. In sandals. Thinking about it still makes me shudder.

    6. Cato says:

      Oh, for heaven’s sake. Just wait until the weekend, and the Bankers’ Wives will run them all over with their shopping carts.

      They’re aggressive little devils — and the rats are no match for them.

    7. Myron Pulier says:

      For the past 2 months I’ve noticed more rats than ever during the day between B’way and West End around 97th St. It seems like more than random statistical fluctuation.

    8. Peter says:

      You want to see rat heaven???… come take a tour of the deserted MTA substation on 96th between Bway and WEA. Of course, it’s connected to a Gristedes. Couldn’t possibly be any rats in there at night. Governments (Fed, State, Local) can’t run anything effectively. I can’t wait until they get a hold of my healthcare.

      • RF says:

        I’ve also seen rats in the Gristedes at 86th/Broadway on more than one occasion. Granted the store is below ground, but having a furry creature scamper past your foot as you’re picking out produce is not exactly appetizing. After the second time it happened, I decided that I’d only visit that store for canned and frozen items. Now it seems I might be adding Fairway to that list as well!

    9. Scooter Stan says:

      Re: RF’s comment above: “I looked down to check my phone … and tripped on a GIANT dead rat. In the middle of the day. In sandals. ”

      Ummm…why would a giant dead rat be wearing sandals in the middle of the day????

      Well, because it IS Fashion Week, let’s hope they were at least Birkenstocks!

    10. Upper West Side Wally says:

      Perchance UWS residents need to be be dissuaded, by some serious fines, from dumping vast amounts of seed, loaves (!) of bread, rice (cooked and uncooked) and what have you on the sidewalks and in the parks. It’s a matter of public health.

    11. Liz says:

      Dear Folks:

      Rats have been a problem in Verdi Square Park at least since the extension of the subway platform at 72nd St.

      The rats are very brazen. One crossed my path as I was walking through the park to the corner of 73rd and Bdwy.

    12. Ron says:

      Fairway, if you want to keep the rats out try closing the door! I know it is a novel idea; however, other grocery stores in the UWS figured this out.

    13. Karen says:

      The only good thing about this is that it has “spawned” the weekend Garage Sales in front of the Rat House on 74th Street.

    14. Dee says:

      so disgusting! fairway is gross