OP/ED: Mayor Adams Vs. NYC Rats


Is it true – that there is one rat per person in NYC? Or is that a myth?

The current estimate of the rat population in New York City is around 2 million rats and there are about 8 million New Yorkers. If we were to compare the ratio of rats to New Yorkers it would be four New Yorkers to one rat. While the one-to-one ratio doesn’t fact-check, New York has a severe rat problem! We must be one of the rattiest cities in America. 

“Today, we declare that rats will no longer be the unofficial mascot of New York City,” said New York City Councilmember Sandy Nurse. Rats have been a problem for New Yorkers for many many years and it’s reassuring that some action will finally be taken. 

Back in November 2022, Mayor Adams signed four bills now effective, to fight rats and build a cleaner city. He then opened an exclusive position that paid up to $170,000 to anyone brave enough to challenge the rats. Their job is simple and it is just to “kill rats.” Out of thousands of applications, Mayor Adams picked the perfect candidate; Kathleen Corradi is now the city’s first director of rodent migration

Now I am not sure if her job consists of going out to the streets to kill rats with her bare hands since Mayor Adam’s only description for this position was just to “kill rats.” But, I do know that an unarmed human could lose a fight to a herd of rats. The ratio to that would be 1:20. Interesting, right? 

Now rats have been in New York City for about 250 years and getting rid of them will not be an easy job. A rodent’s lifespan is roughly two years – not that long, But the problem is that these small devil creatures are randy. Yes, these creatures can have sex up to 20 times a day which leads to a higher number of babies. Rats birth up to six litters a year and each litter can give a range from 10 to 20 baby rats. So, instead of just killing rats in plain sight, we will need a bigger solution. 

Luckily in one of the bills that Mayor Adams signed, there is a specific one for trash and garbage bins that will help eliminate the rats in the city. This bill is called Intro 459-A and it states that this bill will also provide that DSNY may determine, by rule, the times during which buildings must set out their garbage and recycling for collection.” 

Enforcing these new laws is very expensive, but Mayor Adams is confident that he is doing this to provide a cleaner future for the future generation to come. 

“The city continues to expand initiatives to address rats and increase cleanliness. Last week, Mayor Adams announced $14.5 million in new funding this fiscal year for the ‘Get Stuff Clean’ initiative to clean more than 1,000 ‘No Man’s Land’ neglected areas around the city, increase litter basket service, expand camera enforcement against illegal dumping, and bring on additional rat exterminators — resulting in faster and more reliable cleaning of every corner of the city,” said a release from the Press Office of City Hall.   

It sounds like Mayor Adams is not playing around, it looks like he will be tackling every single corner in New York City.

New York City Councilmember Shaun Abreu said “New Yorkers will not have to fear as many rats hiding in late-night shadows, or more frequently, rampaging through our subway system and sidewalks. Future generations will never understand why we let waste sit out for extended periods of time.”

New York City won’t see an immediate difference but Mayor Adams is tackling one rat at a time until they are all gone. Hopefully, this new law is strong enough to tackle all two million rats and we will be able to live in a rat-free city someday.

Do you think we will ever get there? Sometimes I wonder what ever happened to that rat who ate a whole slice of pizza on the subway platform.