City designates these NYC neighborhoods as ‘rat mitigation zones’

April 5, 2023

 Photo by Ludovic Bertron on Flickr

New York City this week named eight rat-prone neighborhoods as part of Mayor Eric Adams’ quest to control the rodent population. According to a notice posted by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Monday, the “rat mitigation zones,” which are areas with “high levels of rat activity,” include Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, Grand Concourse in the Bronx, and Chinatown, the East Village, the Lower East Side, and Harlem in Manhattan. As Crain’s reported, these identified zones will be the focus of a multiagency effort to address the rats and the conditions that cause them, according to the city.

Image courtesy of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

These neighborhoods were selected by the city based on a set of criteria that included the number of rat-related cleanup orders issued by NYC within the last year, rat-baiting visits by the city’s Health Department, rat-related 311 complaints, and NYC Parks-owned properties that have been considered susceptible to rat infestations, according to Crain’s New York.

Three of the designated zones, the Lower East Side zone, the Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Prospect Heights zone, and the Grand Concourse area, had already been the focus of city rat cleanup efforts that former Mayor Bill de Blasio led in 2017.

Last November, Adams signed four pieces of legislation aimed at fighting rat infestations and making the city cleaner. The legislation required the city health department to identify rat mitigation zones and codify the mayor’s proposal to push back the DSNY’s garbage pick-up time, as well as reduce rats in construction areas and buildings with rodent infestations, according to a press release.

The law changing garbage pick-up time to 8 p.m. was just enacted on April 1. The adjustment is meant to shorten the amount of time garbage bags sit on the curb before being picked up, preventing them from obstructing the sidewalks and warding off rat infestations.

Adams also announced last year he wanted to hire a “rat czar.” For a salary of up to $170,000, the desired individual would have a “Swashbuckling attitude, crafty humor, and general aura of badassery,” and of course, a “virulent vehemence for vermin.” Adams last month said he hired someone for the position but declined to identify the person employed, according to Pix11.

The mayor’s ongoing battle against rats is also personal. Adams has been given three tickets for rat-related violations at his Bed-Stuy brownstone since last year. While two were dismissed, the mayor was fined $300 and actually went to court recently to fight the ticket, as Gothamist reported.

New Yorkers who want their neighborhoods to be designated a rat mitigation zone can testify during a public hearing on the proposed rules on May 4. Learn more here.

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  1. D

    My wife and I own a beautiful apartment on the cusp of the East Village and LES. I can accept the fact that the cost of housing has seemingly doubled the cost of “fancy” neighborhoods uptown, I.e. UES or UWS

  2. D

    My wife and I own a beautiful apartment on the cusp of the East Village and LES. I can accept the fact that the cost of housing has seemingly doubled the cost of $/ sq. ft. in “fancy” neighborhoods uptown, I.e. UES or UWS. That is okay, we love the village. HOWEVER, despite our paying ridiculous $ for our modest apartment and then crazy $ for NYC taxes, I AM UNABLE TO WALK MY DOGS DOWN THE BLOCK WITHOUT THE USUAL HARASSMENT BY THOUSANDS OF RATS, HOMELESS AND FLORIDLY PSYCHOTIC BEGGARS, VIOLENT DRUG ADDICTS, GARBAGE ALL OVER THE STREET THAT SMELLS LIKE VOMIT, URINE, AND FECES…WTF?!? Not Okay.