TODAY: Cat Craft Fever

October 15, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11211, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

This item comes courtesy of my friend P.J. of Empty Cages Collective. Today starting at noon the folks at Empty Cages will be conducting an adoption event/craft fair at Williamsburg’s own Gristle Tattoo. NOTE: as the flyer states all tattoo deposits made today will be donated to Empty Cages! Check it out!

Cat Craft Fever
October 15, 2011 Noon – 4:00 p.m.
Gristle Tattoo
178 North 8 Street
Brooklyn, New York 11211

Live From Community Board 1: Much Ado About Rats!

September 14, 2011 ·
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…

Spotted On Manhattan Avenue: Rats

September 3, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Well, not really— but I have seen a serious proliferation of these fliers in the neighborhood recently. This suggests there is a problem. I have not seen ’em here— but perhaps, gentle readers, you have? If so, please send me your rat spottings, rat travails or, best of all; the 411 as to why this campaign has been initiated in the first place via comments or email at missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. Your identity will remain anonymous if you so desire.


From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: Rats at the Astral?

February 16, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Although I have asked this tipster for more information I feel compelled to “crowd-source” this item, which involves one of the Garden Spot’s more renowned buildings: none other than the Astral. J writes:

I’m sure you’ve seen the explosion of rats at the Astral since the blizzard. What can we do to get Astral Apts. or the city to remove the rats?

Actually I have not seen nor heard anything about this— thank god. However, I’d wager the woeful lack of garbage pick-up that followed our blizzard(s) has a lot to do with this. Since J has not indicated where these rats are to be found, I am going to presume they are within the Astral’s premises.

Here’s the deal: New York City apartment dwellers are to having a safe and “livable” domiciles per something called the “Warrant of Habitability”. Here’s a brief run-down of what this entails per RentLaw:

Tenants are entitled to a livable, safe and sanitary apartment. Lease provisions inconsistent with this right are illegal. Failure to provide heat or hot water on a regular basis, or to rid an apartment of insect infestation are examples of a violation of this warranty. Public areas of the building are also covered by the warranty of habitability. The warranty of habitability also applies to cooperative apartments, but not to condominiums. Any uninhabitable condition caused by the tenant or persons under his direction or control does not constitute a breach of the warranty of habitability. In such a case, it is the responsibility of the tenant to remedy the condition. (Real Property Law §235-b)

Although rats are not explicitly stated above, methinks it would be safe to presume they would be classified as vermin just as insects are.  Now let’s take into account that the Astral is a rent-stabilized building and as such J’s means of recourse are a little different than regular New York City apartments. If (or when) this gentlemen calls 311 his complaint will be referred to an entity called Housing Preservation and Development. To keep it stupid simple, this agency oversees public housing and rent-stabilized apartments. This organization will send out an inspector to assess the problem. If he (or she) notes the presence of vermin the building owner will be notified and expected to fix the problem. Exactly how long this process will take is anyone’s guess.

If the problem is not addressed— and HPD has noted the presence of vermin tenants may file for a reduction of his (or her rent) via the Department of Housing and Community Renewal for (and I quote) “decreased services”. This can be filed for individual apartments or building-wide. You can view the requisite forms by clicking here. Yours truly has successfully done this in the past. Be advised it takes several months.

But hopefully it will not come to this for J and his neighbors. It goes without saying that the first thing he and his should do is contact the landlord. In the case of Pistilli Realty (and I have been told this by someone who residents in one of their buildings) the key is to be persistent!

In closing, this is a very general (and laywoman’s) synopsis of what recourse J has for this situation. It should go without saying that if the vermin problem persists he should enlist the services of an attorney. The previous caveat/disclaimer having been made, has anyone in the Astral noted the increased presences of rats? If so I would very much like to hear from you. Please send you accounts and/or photographs to: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. It goes without saying your identity will remain anonymous if you so desire.


Miss Heather

LAST GASP: Got Rats?

If so, someone would very much like to talk to you. “Associate Producer” writes:

I’m not sure whether or not this would be the kind of thing (it most assuredly is— Ed. Note) that would be of interest to you or your readers, but it’s certainly a city-wide issue, so I wonder if you can help.

I’m part of a team producing a new documentary series on the city’s by-now colossal rat population – outnumbering humans in NY 12-to-1 by some estimates.  We’re going to be following a team of exterminators as they set about ridding a range of homes and businesses throughout the 5 boroughs of rat infestations…

We’re keen to hear from anyone who is suffering from this menace.


Here’s the dealio: if you want to share your Rattus norvegicus experiences (or simply want to learn more about this project) you should shoot an email to:  sciencetvshow (at) gmail (dot) com

Not only is your confidentiality ensured, but they’ll set you up with an accredited local pest control company that will tackle your rat problem FOR FREE. Yes, I just wrote F-R-E-E!

Get cracking Greenburgers, Bushwickers and Long Island Cityslickers!

Miss Heather

From Bushwick With Love

As it would happen, a good friend of mine resides in Bushwick. On occasion she sees fit to send me pictures from her wanderings around the neighborhood. Today was one of those days. She writes:

I was going to save this and give it to you as an anniversary present, but it’s just too good to sit on till October. This is what I saw while walking my dog this morning. I made sure to swing back by with my camera on the way to the train to work. I did not arrange this. I merely happened by and saw its intrinsic sublimity.

From Bushwick with Love

This looks like one hell of a party (note the baggie of cocaine to the rat’s right). They sure seem to like Heineken down there. I sense a phat product placement deal will be headed Bushwick’s direction soon. With publicity like this, who needs Madison Avenue?

Miss Heather

P.S.: Thanks a lot for the gift, Chintamani! This is like Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Ramadan all put together.

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