A rat’s life on Pacific Street

Pacific Street between Third Avenue and Nevins Street is a rat’s paradise.

On this very green stretch of Boerum Hill, rats the size of tabby cats gnaw away entire gardens in a night’s time. They take over the block every night like young professionals on Smith Street.

“If you go outside at night, you see packs of them walking down the street, totally fearless,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, who lives on the block.

“It’s an epidemic,” she added.

On one recent night, a crew of the beady-eyed critters devoured Whitson’s entire herb garden, gorging on delicate stalks of parsley, clusters of Thai mint and several pesto dinners’ worth of basil.

“After that,” Whitson said, “I started thinking about starting the Boerum Hill Hunting Club. We would hunt rats instead of deer.”

Whitson’s neighbor, Robin Miller, said that she has been forced to explain away the bloody rat carcasses staining the pavement.

“I tell my 2-year-old daughter that the [rats] didn’t have time to get home to their beds,” said Miller.

Indeed, neighbors are ready to de-ratify Pacific Street. Recently, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, a stately church at the corner of Third Avenue and Pacific Street, brought in a pest control expert to make sure the vermin keep out of the pews.

“I thought I was seeing watermelon seeds,” said Muriel Tillinghast, an official at the church. “Then I found out it was rat droppings and became very concerned.”

Tillinghast’s hired gun called the rat activity in the area “excessive.”

“They’re a problem all over the city,” said John Pimpinella of Horizon Pest Control. “But on Pacific Street, I saw hundreds of them living in alleys.”

He blamed the explosion of rat-displacing construction in the area, as well as the age-old vermin lures of messy Dumpsters, litter and gasp, greenery.

As it turns out, the notoriously indiscriminate eaters seem to attack organic offerings with the same vigor they have traditionally applied to rotting fast food and leaky trash bags.

“Rats are really attracted to the roots and plants,” Pimpinella explained.

At Bethlehem, fear of flower-eating vermin has incited church leaders to forbid any new greenery on its grounds.

“They seek the greenery as a place of refuge,” Tillinghast said of the rats’ catholic tastes.

Yet when it comes down to it, the battle against rats may be another one of the church’s eternal struggles, she said.

“I am manic about being tidy about food and not littering,” she said. “But the truth is, the rats have been here longer then we have, and they will probably outlive us too.”

The Kitchen Sink

Tell the varmints to vamoose once and for all: Bethlehem Lutheran Church, at 490 Pacific St., is hosting a community meeting on May 9 at 7 pm about the rat problem. Call (718) 624-0242 for information. …

And the Big Green thumb goes to Margaret Cusack. Cusack, a founder of the Hoyt Street Garden, has been named the 2007 Brooklyn Gardener of the Year by The NYC Community Garden Coalition. Check out Cusack’s handiwork at the lush garden she built from the dirt on up at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Hoyt Street. …

Organic kiss coming: The sink has learned that Fort Greene’s all-organic Smooch Cafe is considering opening a new location in Boerum Hill. Oooh la la. …

The celeb kid band Care Bears on Fire will play an afternoon show on Saturday, April 28, at the Liberty Heights Tap Room, 34 Van Dyke St. Call (718) 246-8050 for info. …

Tacos up! The food vendors, baseball players, futbol stars and mariachi bands are expected to be in full swing this weekend at the ballfields in Red Hook. Come with a full stomach and a set of earplugs. The bands get loud! …

Summer stealin’: Warm weather makes everyone want a bike, including hoodlums. Last week, a handful of bikes were stripped of their wheels on Smith Street, a clerk at the street’s Aden News shop told the Stoop. Heed the warning: lock up both wheels.… Last chance to create a “community-driven development plan” for Atlantic Yards. On April 28, the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods will host a planning session to come up with a Yards alternative at Hanson Place United Methodist Church (144 St. Felix St., at Hanson Place, in Fort Greene). The forum starts at 10 am.