By Sabina Mollot
New York City’s rat population has grown in recent years, making their numbers roughly the same as 20 percent of the human population here. And as they’ve increased, so have complaints about the critters, by 10 percent, from 2016 to last year.
But their numbers (250,000 to millions in 2017) also vary by neighborhood, or rather complaints to 311 about the aforementioned rodents do.
RentHop, an apartments listings website that has tracked neighborhood rates of things like dog poop offenses and lack of heat in buildings, has, last month, released a study showing which neighborhoods have the most rats.
Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn as well as Harlem and the Upper East Side in Manhattan were the top three in terms of complaints last year, with 1,265, 865 and 731 respectively.
By contrast, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village had just one complaint, up from four the previous year, according to the study. It is of course possible that there were many more complaints made to the complex’s management rather than 311, since unlike the other neighborhoods profiled, ST/PCV is one, big private property.
However, according to management, the numbers have in fact been reduced.
In response to the study, Stuyvesant Town general manager Rick Hayduk said, “Keeping the two communities pest free is a collaborative effort between StuyTown Property Services’ indoor/outdoor cleaning team, the horticulture team and Assured Environments, our pest control partner. Meticulously caring for the buildings and property exterior combined with Assured’s intense pest control strategy has delivered the results residents deserve when living in PCVST.”
The East Village, meanwhile, had 275 complaints, up from 203 the previous year.
As for the East Village sightings, the majority of complaints came from residential apartment buildings with three or more units (128), followed by 25 complaints in multi-use residential buildings with three or more units. There were 19 sightings at public gardens.
Gramercy had 78 complaints, up from 53 in 2016. Kips Bay had 49, up from 19 in 2016. Union Square had four, down from 19 in 2016. Stuyvesant Square had one complaint in 2017, up from zero the previous year. The city as a whole saw a total of 19,152 rodent complaints.
According to the study, while there is no association between one-bedroom median rents and complaints about rats, complaints were generally less common where rents were higher. The median rents listed in the study were based on available apartment listings last year. The East Village’s was $2,895 for a one-bedroom apartment while Stuy Town’s was $3,455.
The study also determined that rat sightings peak in the warmer seasons as new rat pups are weaned in the spring and late summer or early fall. Rats can also be aggressive in finding food, with the study citing the internet famous Pizza Rat, who gained notoriety after being filmed tugging a slice up the stairs at the First Avenue L train station in 2015.
Anyone who sees or suspects an infestation should call 311, RentHop advises, and to help avoid them in the first place, garbage cans in buildings should have their lids properly closed.