An artist (it appears to be Hans Honschar) has some fun with a certain city rivalry. Photo by Greg Parets.

October 19, 2015 Weather: Sunny, with a high of 53 degrees.

This week, consider checking out some of the free concerts at UWS institutions like Juilliard and the Bloomingdale School of Music. Check out a full list of dozens of events on our calendar.

Also on the calendar: the 24th precinct’s community council meeting, participatory budgeting and other events for civic-minded folks.

For people hoping to attend a town hall meeting on Oct. 28 at PS 191 with Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, we initially posted the wrong time. It starts at 5:30, not 7:30.

As seems to happen every few years, rats are proliferating on the Upper West Side. “Nora Prentice, who lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has repeatedly complained to the city about a colony of about 200 rats in a neighborhood park. ‘It’s like the Burning Man of rats,’ she said. ‘They’re just sitting there in a lawn chair waiting for you. I don’t know what the city can do about this rat condominium. It’s really gross.” Prentice said that she avoids the area because of the rats and that complaints she filed with the city were closed after officials told her they were ‘working on the problem.'”

There was a credible bald eagle sighting in Central Park, which is pretty damn cool. “Bald eagles have made a comeback in New York over the last few decades, after a thinning of their population in the 1960s and ’70s, when the heavy use of the pesticide DDT inhibited their reproduction.” If you see the fella, take a picture and send it to us (the picture, not the eagle).

Chalkbeat put together an in-depth article on the school rezoning issue at PS 199, 191 and 452 that we’ve been covering. Several competing plans are being considered, including this interesting one: “Meanwhile, other parents have floated a third plan: pairing the two schools so that students attend one for the early grades and the other for later grades. The schools had such an arrangement decades ago, but it eventually fell apart.” The school  board (CEC3) is set to vote on this a month from today.

As construction increases, construction fatalities are on the rise too.

Thomas Beller biked through Central Park with his family while thinking about the Rolling Stones and writes about it.

The New York Times confirmed the story we broke last week, about Planet Fitness signing a lease for the old Metro Theater on Broadway between 99th and 100th. “The conversations with Planet Fitness have been going on for more than a year, and a deal was signed last Friday giving Planet Fitness a 15-year lease, with a five-year option to extend…Planet Fitness said it would take care to return the building to its former glory, creating a gym that would respect the Metro’s historical details. The facade’s most striking feature is an Art Deco medallion above the marquee depicting two entwined figures holding the masks of comedy and tragedy. ‘We have worked in landmark buildings before and we really love this space,’ said Gabrielle Lawlor, the general counsel for PFNY, LLC, the franchisee that owns Planet Fitness gyms in New York City.”

NEWS | 27 comments | permalink
    1. UWS parent says:

      I have never seen as many rats in our neighborhood as in the past year or so. They are especially a problem in Roosevelt Park. I think it became really bad when the museum or the parks dept planted large stretches of groundcover plants. The rats immediately had a great habitat to breed and live. My son calls it the “Rat Jungle.” Whenever we walk through Roosevelt Park at dusk, we count the number of rats we see. It’s always at least 5 and sometimes as high as 15. Pretty as it is, the groundcover really needs to be removed and replaced with grass.

      • BZ says:

        Totally agree. Love Roosevelt park but rats are taking over…especially where there are low plants. Problem has gotten even worse over the last few months.

        • Brian says:

          The Parks Dept has stopped using rat poison in RSP due to baby hawks being poisoned a few years ago. For one I think it’s a terrible policy. As much as I hate the idea of hawks dying, the rat problem is not only disgusting, but also a potential health issue.

          “The Parks Department has acknowledged the threat of rodenticide to hawks after several red-tailed hawks died of rat poisoning this past spring. They agreed to stop using rat bait in Central Park, Riverside Park and Theodore Roosevelt Park.”

      • Elizabeth says:

        What agency can we contact to address the rats in Roosevelt park?

    2. BGL says:

      Totally agree about the Roosevelt Park. Dusk seems to be their favorite time to scamper on benches and jump in and out of the garbage pails.
      Along Columbus Ave, the overflow from Shake Shack, and the garbage left behind is an invitation to be more brazen.
      I agree the ground cover gives them somewhere to hide. I have seen groundskeepers from the museum, emptying the rat motels. They work but the problem is beyond traps.

    3. UWS resident says:

      Is there no way that parks workers can enforce the “no feeding” rule – most politely I have explained to “older” people feeding pigeons and squirrels bread brings rats. I am consistently yelled at and cursed.

      • Rat A. Tooey says:

        Foist of all, dey are not “older” dey is “more mature”;

        Second, of coarse dat bread brings rats! What is we gonna eat? Fillit Mignonee? An besides, would youse toin down free food??

        T’oid, about ‘ I am consistently yelled at and cursed’ … obviously, ya disoives it! Jes mindyerownbizness!


        • Kev says:

          Anyway it is older people feeding birds and unwittingly feeding rats too. They need to stop.

          • Upper West Side Wally says:

            Tell them that the processed ingredients in bread is bad for their own health, let alone what’s it’s doing to smaller animals.
            “You’re poisoning those birds ans squirrels, lady!”

            • ScooterStan says:

              Re: “You’re poisoning those birds ans squirrels, lady!”

              Oh, Definitely!!

              First of all, what about the many lil’ critturs who are on a Gluten-free diet!

              Then there are those, esp. the squirrels, who are on low-carb diets like Atkins or South Beach!!

              And finally, these being UWS birds and squirrels (ALWAYS morally-superior and more ethically-aware than lesser birds and squirrels) they probably prefer an all-organic diet free of processing chemicals and all that bad, bad, BAD!! non-organic stuff.

              The rats, however, being rats of low standards, are perfectly okay with this.

          • Lin says:

            Tired of seniors being blamed for everything—now we’re
            causing rats. In my neighborhood there’s a young woman (probably in her 30’s) who feeds pigeons on the sidewalk on Amsterdam and 69th. I am worried that this will bring in rats. Please stop beating on seniors.

    4. robert says:

      I hope this Metro deal actually amounts to something. I await the neighborhoods reaction to their building plans. It will be interesting to see what they show and how many changes our UWS folks insist on. Remember what happened to Urban Outfitters, that deal fell apart.
      One of the big questions is where and how will they put up the stores signage, They can not mount anything on or in front of the pink Terra Cotta

    5. Lisa UWS says:

      Point the bald eagle to the rat infestation and let Mother Nature deal with it. Don’t think you can count on anyone else.

    6. 92nd street says:

      Leave those Rats alone. Bunch of Rat Bigots.
      The Squirrels and Chipmunks are OK, and let’s feed the Pigeons and Raccoons.

      Rats may be diseased, but if you leave them be they will leave you be.

    7. Rachel says:

      I have seen so many rats in broad daylight in central park in the west 80’s in the past few weeks, its repulsive. I also hope the new eagle gets used to them in his diet.

      On that nicer note – My family spotted a bald eagle last weekend in the Palisades park across the GW, could it be the same one? How big would its territory be? We got an amazing picture!

    8. caitlin says:

      Since about 2010, seems to be a lot more garbage overflowing from sidewalk trash cans on UWS. More people (residents and visitors/tourists) around and who leave their garbage everywhere.
      Thus a feast for rats.

      This is especially true around subway stations and intersections, but even on West End Avenue, when the weather is nice, the trashcans are overflowing with Starbucks cups, water bottles and pizza boxes.

      And street fairs result in mounds of garbage. This past weekend, street fair on on Broadway 86-96, people just left their garbage on the sidewalk. Unbelievable.

      • Joe says:

        “And street fairs result in mounds of garbage. This past weekend, street fair on on Broadway 86-96, people just left their garbage on the sidewalk. Unbelievable.”

        And unacceptable. Contact Mort Berkowitz, the big cheese of all the fairs, and complain! 212-764-6330 or

    9. Angelo Angrisani says:

      I am a Native NYer f u to anyone who says real NYers are met fans. B F S long live the YANKEES

    10. Angelo Angrisani says:

      Finding crack vials on my street thats 97th Street between West End and Riverside. Long live the 80’s thanks mayor duche.

    11. Joe says:

      Yes, rats grow bigger and meaner every day!

      Glad to learn that Eagles are coming back.

      Some people subscribe to the theory that wildlife wants to reclaim Manhattan.

      Not so troublesome by the occasional coyote trotting around, or even the skunks (I’ve smelled a few in the past week).

      Things will get scarier when the bears cross the GW Bridge from New Jersey.

      And who knows how far away from a wolf invasion?

      • Hill says:

        Dear Joe,
        Unfortunately I don’t think it is actual skunks you are smelling but “skunk.” I would rather have the animal variety.

        • Joe says:

          Can you educate me. What smells like an actual spray from the animal but is not produced by the animal?

          • UWS parent says:

            Wow, you’ve led a sheltered life. Or is your post sarcastic? In case it’s not, the “skunk” smell is marijuana, more often than not in the city.

    12. Miriam says:

      Back before many of you were born, around 1986, we had a major rat problem on my block. Granted it’s an ongoing problem in big cities and rats will never be eradicated but they can be controlled. What we did was organize a block association and meet with city agencies who, while finding ie easy to ignore one complainant, do respond to groups. We held meetings at the local church. The city got rid of the rats on the block. Ultimately, we also organized clean-up parties through the Citizens Committee for NYC, got a grant from them to form an after school program and ended up getting an award that year for our work as a block association. It takes a little effort but you can get things done if you decide to do more than point fingers and complain about the problem online.

      • hmm says:

        Hmmm. A rat problem in 1986, a rat problem in 2015. What do the two years have in common?

        • hmm says:

          Really? No one gets my Mets humor? 🙂

          • Miriam says:

            Sorry, hmm, just now saw your response (West Side Rag it would be nice to get notification of new responses, hint, hint) and you’re so right! In ’86 we had season tickets to the Mets and often got behind the plate free tix from my sister’s friend who the Mets nurse at the stadium! Those were the days. So maybe the year of the (NYC) rat is a good omen for the Mets. In that case, bring on the rats!