A crew was out early today, hauling some lumber and other items from the basement of McSorley's on Seventh Street near Cooper Square.
As we first reported on Thursday, the DOH temporarily closed McSorley's following an inspection on Wednesday.
The bar, which may or may not have been established in 1854, has had A grades from the DOH in previous years. This time around, though, inspectors found evidence of rats/mice in the basement, according to the inspection report.
Owner Matthew Maher blamed the never-ending Cooper Square reconstruction for the presence of the critters. (A construction storage area nearby on the street was a rat hotspot as anyone who ever walked by noted.)
"There was a whole load of building equipment here, when the city opened up the pipes and all that, and they just took that away a couple of weeks ago, and that was a haven for rats," he said, noting he had seen the rodents scurrying around near the site during the restoration project from the city's Department of Design and Construction, which included tearing up the pavement in the plaza to install a new gas main.
When a health inspector came by unannounced on Wednesday afternoon, rat droppings were found throughout the basement, said Maher, who suspected the vermin got in when workers installing a new heating system weeks prior failed to shut the basement door on the sidewalk.
But rats are just a part of city living, said Maher — unpleasant, but not uncommon, especially near construction sites.
"Can you imagine New York City anywhere there isn't a rat? Are you kidding me?" he exclaimed.
Maher will appear at the city's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings on Monday, and hopes to be able to reopen after that.
Meanwhile! Former house cat Minnie McSorley — banished by the DOH — offered her take on the matter on Facebook Thursday (h/t Daily News): "Good thing the health department made me move out, huh?"
Previously on EV Grieve:
Exclusive: Minnie McSorley's first interview