The city is finally promising to kill a burgeoning rat infestation that Greenpoint residents say has terrorized them for two years.
Calyer Street homeowners have trapped and killed more than 130 rats over the past two years after noticing rodent droppings on their stoops and tennis ball-sized holes in their Rubbermaid garbage cans — even ones named, ironically, “The Brute.”
But when residents called 311 to complain, Sanitation workers instead issued summonses for damaged garbage containers and filthy, pellet-strewn stoops.
“The rats come by and s—t and I get a ticket for the s—t on my stoop — that’s not fair!” said homeowner Jeannette Mocko, who has caught 16 rats this year alone. “[The rats] are running rampant in the streets, and the city isn’t doing anything.”
A Health Department spokeswoman identified the source of the rat warren under an unpaved lot off McGuinness Boulevard, in front of a larger parking lot and fast-food complex owned by Pick Kwic Foods.
The rectangular lot about the size of four parking lots consists of a mix of gravel, tufts of weeds and hardened earth. Dozens of holes dot the edge of the unpaved ground and asphalt — evidence of a network of tunnels that the kielbasa-sized vermin have made their lair.
“It is a separate lot is the source of the problem,” said the spokeswoman, Chanel Caraway. “It is being treated and will be eradicated.”
The city has issued a violation to the lot’s owner after an initial inspection. If the owner does not fix the problem, the city will bait the property with rodenticide at the owner’s expense.
The action comes after more than 400 residents signed a petition urging the city to kill the rats. Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint) called on the city to “take whatever appropriate measures necessary” to eliminate them.
It can take as many as five baiting applications to eliminate the brood — so it could be weeks or even months before the population is exterminated, so Mocko and her neighbors remain worried.
“My neighbors are already seeing more holes — they’re burrowing dens out of the dirt in our gardens, under trees and bushes,” she said. “It’s getting pathetic. They’re not going anywhere.”