The city's complaint hotline is on pace for a record year of rat calls, exceeding the more than 24,000 over each of the last two years. Blistering audits have faulted efforts to fight what one official called a "rat crisis."
But does this mean that there are actually more rats in the city?
New York officials who have been fighting the battle for decades say rising complaint numbers don't mean there are more rats, and they argue the rat population has actually been holding steady the past few years.
A Columbia University doctoral student using statistical analysis last year estimated the number of rats in the city at 2 million, claiming to debunk a popular theory that there is one rat for each of the city's 8.4 million people. But scientists and city officials say it's impossible to accurately estimate the number.
Anyway, what's the city's plan to combat the rats?
Mayor Bill de Blasio's new "rat reservoir" plan targets communities with the highest number of rat complaints and seeks to dismantle habitats and food sources. That effort includes setting traps, installing rodent-resistant trash cans and working on legislation that would require restaurants to hose away sludge from dripping garbage.
We noted the rat reservoir plan back in August 2014. The East Village was to be one of the testing grounds for the program. But aside from some rat academies, we don't recall much else in the way of rat battles.
A Daily News piece from May reports that the seven neighborhoods that got the pilot program — including East Harlem, the Upper West Side and the East Village — saw a roughly 80-90 percent drop in rat sightings, according to the city.
Updated 8:30 p.m.
Because we started talking abut trash in Tompkins Square Park in the comments... two photos via Derek Berg from yesterday...
... squirrels seem to like it...
Previously on EV Grieve:
The East Village will be testing ground for a 'rat reservoir pilot'
Rat photo in Tompkins Square Park Bobby Williams