West Side activists warns visitors of street rat problems
Anyone visiting one Upper West Side street is going to get a colorful warningthat they're entering vermin territory.
A community activist recently installed yellow, diamond shaped signs on West 76th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West that warn of "rodent crossing."
Joseph Bolanos, the president of West 76th Street Park Block Association, said he installed the signs on lampposts and street polls because nothing was being done about the increase in rat sightings on his block.
"I would get reports from neighbors that they heard shrieks and screams at 3 in the morning," he said.
"We thought it was crime related but then we learned that it was because they saw rats."
Bolanos said the pests have been attracted to a construction project on his block for more than a year. The activist said that construction workers have left trash in receptacles that were not properly covered.
"They created a buffet for the rats," he said.
After Bolanos talked about the problem to the building's construction company and city's health department, the construction managers installed metal Dumpsters, but the rodents kept coming.
The Health Department said it has tken Bolanos's concerns seriously and have been working with residents to curb the pests
"We've been holding local trainings that have been highly successful through our Rat Academy to teach the community best methods for rodent control," a spokeswoman said in a statement.
Bolanos said he has been surprised with the positive feedback from residents and visitors who have seen the signs. Some have even taken photos posing next to the notices and posting them on social networking sites.
"People who see the signs hopefully won't be as startled," Bolanos said.