It was hard to remember after Pizza Rat showed us that rats were just like people, always hungry for more pizza than anyone can realistically actually eat, that New Yorkers and rats have never had the best relationship. After that temporary distraction though, things are getting back to normal, with the AP reporting that New Yorkers are sick of rats acting like they run the city and calling to complain about them more than ever. If there’s something we love more than viral sensations after all, it’s kvetching.
The AP says that the city’s rat hotline is on pace for more than 24,000 rat complaints, which would beat the number of calls over each of the last two years. The issue has become enough of a problem in one city park on the Upper West Side that one resident called the rat population there ” like the Burning Man of rats,” a horrifying idea that got anti-rat forces an ally in Comptroller Scott Stringer, who told the AP that he’s seen “rats running through neighborhoods like they actually bought a co-op somewhere.” Which is definitely an outrageous thought, that rats have some kind of secret knowledge of New York’s real estate scene that allows them to actually afford to buy here without having a job on Wall Street.
The city promises its doing what it can to control rats the people can’t monetize as hot content, funding its rat control efforts to the tune of $3 million and instituting “rat reservoir” plan that will target areas with high rat populations in order to provide them rat traps and rat-resistant trash cans, as well as a bill that would require restaurants to wash their delicious (to rats) garbage sludge off the sidewalk instead of leaving it like some kind of rat buffet. Which all sound well and good, but how is a restaurant supposed to advertise itself as “the place where the famous Cannoli Rat eats” if they have to actually dispose of their garbage properly?