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Rats. One minute they're charming the world with their pizza-eating pluckiness. The next, everyone remembers that they're sort of terrifying and gross.

New York City has had an unusually lengthy phase of rat adoration recently, so it was time for the pendulum to swing back. Right on cue, the Associated Press unearthed some chilling news on Sunday: while New Yorkers have been busy naming streets after Pizza Rat and letting their guard down, the rats have been growing stronger and stronger, emboldened by the seemingly good PR landscape for their kind and by the steaming piles of garbage that New York seems addicted to leaving all over the city for months on end.

From the AP:

The city's complaint hotline is on pace for a record year of rat calls, exceeding the more than 24,000 over each of the last two years. Blistering audits have faulted efforts to fight what one official called a "rat crisis."

[…]

Nora Prentice, who lives on Manhattan's Upper West Side, has repeatedly complained to the city about a colony of about 200 rats in a neighborhood park.

"It's like the Burning Man of rats," she said. "They're just sitting there in a lawn chair waiting for you. . I don't know what the city can do about this rat condominium. It's really gross."

The Burning Man of rats. Think of that. Rats forming colonies of insufferable faux-hippies, losing their minds for days and then hanging out on the Upper West Side, just going crazy in the park! Rats are supposed to stay piled on subway tracks and around trash cans, not talking shop with Columbia professors at Fairway.

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Can the current mayoral administration do anything to combat the invading rat army? Since nothing has ever worked in all of the history of New York, the forecast is gloomy.