Live From Community Board 1: Much Ado About Rats!

September 14, 2011 by
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Since I posted this flier on September 3rd I have received a number of missives from residents regarding the rat situation in Greenpoint. Follows is a comment on the aforementioned post from someone who has been personally afflicted by these creatures. We’ll call her “B” and she has killed 36 rats. She writes:

My neighbor put these up–she lives on Calyer near McGuinness. But the problem is rampant for at least a three block radius. There is a network of rat colonies running in between the yards,and it is almost impossible to control since it extends between properties,and goes unchecked in the vacant lots. I live on Leonard btwn Meserole and Calyer–we killed 36 in our yard last summer (we are ok this year, post-an embarrassing Rat Busters appearance, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time). Our neighbor two doors down, next to an empty lot, killed 57 since last summer. The woman who put up the fliers has killed over 20.

At least on our block,ground zero seems to be an empty lot at 689 Leonard Street. Eckford St has a giant lot that is also a problem,and the lovely rat hotel ( As noted by New York Shitty— via a reader— on October 21, 2010– Ed. Note.). I’ve lived here 8 years and last year was the first year we had any trouble–I’ve wondered if some of the recent construction projects kicked up a dormant colony? Not sure,but the strangest thing is the appearance of giant white rats mixed in with the regular Norways (one of our neighbors has pictures).

Despite numerous 311 complaints,nothing changes. I’ve tracked many of my own calls,and they are listed as “resolved,”but I know full well the inspectors never came,or did an extremely cursory job inspecting the property (e.g. if my complaint is about an infestation in a back yard,how can you claim you inspected the property if you never rang the doorbell and don’t have access to the yard??).

But it appears flurries of 311 complaints are our best defense. This is the only thing that the Community Board seems to respond to. So if I might make a plea to your readers–if you do have a similar situation,make many,many 311 complaints. The owners of the property will receive notices and tickets to clean up and seek treatment. Track the numbers and send unresolved/poorly resolved complaints to the community board (info on the flyer above).

And if you have a backyard,please take a look around. I was extremely unpleasantly surprised when I learned that the rats were burrowing underground,with a runway going between our yard and our neighbors,behind some bushes. Look for droppings or suspicious holes and clean up any debris,nesting materials,etc. And whack anyone who puts loaves of bread outside over the head.

Sorry for the long post. Rats make you crazy….

Then came the emails. Most were from reporters wanting to know if I had heard from people afflicted by these varmints. The answer is a resounding “Yes”! A lady we’ll call “A” writes:

Hi Heather,
Thanks so much for posting the rat flyer on your excellent bog New York Shitty.
My boyfriend and I moved to Greenpoint last June. At that time there was no rats that I saw. It was not until August of last year that an infestation began to occur. The problem was so bad that large rats were seen scurrying down the sidewalks—during the day. We caught 28 rats last year–that lasted from late August until the cold hit (October-November). My neighbor caught over 30 last year and the guy two houses down caught over 50–all in the months of (August-November). Some of these “little” fellas have infiltrated neighbors houses. This spring I caught so many I lost count, my neighbor kept a log. I do not recall how many he has caught thus far but the number is substantial. I was away for the entire summer…my boyfriend is scared of rats, so he just kept out of our lovely little yard this summer. We have called the city numerous times.  The response has been minimal at best.
We have been working as a community to try and rid this area of rats. It is difficult though. The beauty shop on the corner of Calyer and Leonard sweeps away daily doses of excrement left behind by these vermin. These lil bastards are smart. They quickly learn how to maneuver traps and are virtually immune to bait. People need to keep the streets clean and dispose of their garbage in receptacles that are rat proof.
Thanks for your post.

Then I received correspondence from a lady named Jeanette Mocko (who provided me the “visual aids” and “rat log” which grace the beginning of this post). She made it known to me that she was going to speak at this evening’s Community Board 1 meeting. Naturally I made it a point to attend. And speak Jeanette did; albeit after providing Chairman Olechowski and his fellow board members with some rather impressive dossiers documenting her Greenpoint rat experience!

So now I suspect you, gentle readers, are wondering exactly what is being done to treat this problem. Chairman Olechowski did— and 50th Assembly District Leader Linda Minucci gave him the low-down.

So there have you. You call the city to complain about rats. They send out an inspector. If the inspector finds evidence of rats on your property you get fined. Nice…


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