Rats Reveal the Naiveté of Youth in Housing, Neighborhood


We’ve all been new to New York City at one point or another. And whether you experienced your baptism by fire recently or decades ago, you know how it feels to naively choose the “perfect” first apartment only to realize that Murray Hill is actually not where the cool kids hang, or that the Upper East Side is a long, long way from downtown, even if you did get a great deal on a 1-bedroom.

So we can’t really judge these rats that are choosing to “mob” the Upper East Side … only sigh and remember that we were young and foolish once, too.

According to the Wall Street Journal (new Metro section alert), rats are positively infesting the East 90s along Second Avenue, running around in apartments, stores, that pizza place where you puked that one St. Patrick’s Day, even car engines, and, we presume, Dorrian’s.

Things get especially ugly at night, says Walter Johnson, a 60-year-old maintenance worker. “It looks like the street’s moving. It’s just wild. You can’t imagine how infested this place became.”

Despite residents’ belief that the rats have come out due to blasting for the 2nd Avenue subway, exterminators and the MTA believe that they’re probably living cheap and easy in an abandoned building on 2nd Avenue — kinda the same way we survived on off-brand mac and cheese back in the day. Sometimes you have to make compromises when you’re starting out.

MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin says the contractors have a rodent-control program in place that includes bait and traps within the construction zone. “We believe that we’re doing what’s required,” Mr. Soffin says.

If history is any indicator, the rats will have found their way downtown well before the station’s anticipated 2018 completion and become a scourge for the rest of us, creating longer lines at bars and meandering, drunken crowds on Avenue A — and leaving Upper East Siders to their peace.

Of course, if you’ll remember, back in April Mayor Bloomberg agreed to cut almost two-thirds of New York’s pest-control workers. Could that have anything to do with this recent infestation? We’ve reached out for comment and will keep you posted.