Rats taking over NYC housing development, resident says

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NEW YORK (WPIX) – A New York City resident says she’s being kept awake each night by the sound of rodents outside her window.

Public housing resident Kanielle Hernandez said the rat problem at the Mariana Bracetti Plaza in the East Village is becoming a health hazard.

Hernandez, who posted video of the issue on Instagram, said the sound gets louder each night and that people walk by unaware that there’s a pile of garbage covered in hungry rodents just a few feet away.

Another video she recorded shows a rat hitting a man’s bike. Hernandez said she started making the videos because she loves her neighborhood and hates to see rats become a health hazard. 

“I literally hear people screaming all the time, even grown men,” she said.

The problem is now infiltrating their community garden, a green space that Hernandez helped renovate. She said when the sun goes down, no one dares go outside.  

Trash is fueling the infestation, said Hernandez, adding that she would like to see the area exterminated along with more trash pick-ups.

“We need more cleanup, we need sanitation to come more often and pick up this garbage so that it’s not sitting there accumulating, ” she said.

A New York City Housing Authority spokesperson told WPIX: “This location is one of the Neighborhood Rat Reduction (NRR) sites and NYCHA’s pest control visits the development at least once a week. They last visited on Monday and have scheduled to return tomorrow to inspect the area. NYCHA staff will clean the area and power wash it as well, and we will continue to monitor the situation.”

A spokesperson from the Sanitation Department told WPIX that trash is picked up from the location Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week.

“We do not have a record of major issues here, but trash in a gated pen could be vulnerable to rodent activity,” the sanitation spokesperson said, adding that a service in which onsite staff puts trash into sealed containers for collection “may be a viable solution to prevent rodent activity.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned last year that as restaurants and other businesses shut their doors during the coronavirus pandemic, rodents activity may increase as they hunt for new food sources.

In April, Central Park marked World Rat Day with a tweet saying, “Here in NYC you don’t have to love your neighbor to coexist—rats are part of life in the big city.”

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