This week, Upper West Siders can learn new ways to get rid of two things that plague our neighborhood: dirty heating oil and rats.

Dirty Heating Oil

The heating oil that many Upper West Side buildings use is a huge pollutant: “Just 10,000 buildings in New York City burn heavy forms of heating oil, but they contribute more soot pollution than all cars and trucks on the City’s roads,” the city notes on a website dedicated to the problem. A disproportionate number of buildings on the Upper West Side burn Number 6 oil, which is literally at “the bottom of the barrel” of the petroleum refinement process. Some of those nasty particles end up in your lungs. Upper West Side buildings have begun converting to number two oil or natural gas or steam but it’s going pretty slow, assuming the city’s data is up to date.

On Monday at 6 p.m. at the New York Public Library’s Riverside Branch (127 Amsterdam Avenue at 64th Street), the city is holding a meeting for building owners to learn how to switch heating oils as the city phases out Number 6 and Number 4 oil. If you’re a resident of a building, you can see what kind of oil or gas your building is burning on this map, and you can contact your building owners to see if they’re making the switch. Says Councilwoman Gale Brewer: “Whether buildings need help understanding conversion options, coordinating with utilities, or assembling financing, NYC Clean Heat can assist you and answer your questions. Info: or or 212.656.9202.”


We’ve written quite a bit about the spread of rats in the neighborhood — from the Rat House, to rats inside Fairway, to rat crossing signs on 76th Street.

The city has begun to pay more attention and has been holding classes for people to learn more about keeping them in check. They’re particularly useful for building supers, but everyone can use more rat-related education these days. The next meeting is on Tuesday from 2 to 4 at John Jay College, 524 West 59 Street (between 10-11 Avenues), Room L.61. As Gale Brewer notes:

“Free Rodent Management Training sponsored by the NYC Dept of Health, Council Member Gale A. Brewer and Community Boards 4 and 7.  This is the 3rd such training we have sponsored. 10 rodent free trash pails to be auctioned! All welcome. To register contact: Jesse Bodine at: or call (212) 873-0282.”

Soot photo from NYC Clean Heat; rat clip art by Nicubunu.

NEWS | 1 comment | permalink
    1. Scooter Stan says:

      Re: ” …but everyone can use more rat-related education these days. The next meeting is on Tuesday from 2 to 4 at John Jay College, ….”