Call it Burrow Hall.
The Brooklyn Borough President’s Office trapped and killed 107 rats that live in the tunnels around Brooklyn Borough Hall as part of a monthlong pilot program aimed at combating the city’s rodent problem, Borough President Eric Adams said.
At a press conference Thursday, Adams and his team unveiled a battery-operated device with a trap door he hopes can eventually be used to eradicate rats throughout the city.
The contraption, described in a press release as a “humane, odor-free, hygienic way” to kill rats, lures the creatures inside with sunflower seeds and nuts, a representative from the company supplying the traps said at the press conference.
The rats then drink a “water-alcohol based solution” that knocks them out before “eventually” drowning them, the representative said.
“We don’t have a current rat plan in this city. We don’t. It doesn’t exist,” Adams said. “And what we’re saying is an overall comprehensive plan [needs] to be put in place”
The borough president’s team opened one of the pilot program traps and scooped out a few of the drowned rats in a gruesome display of their efficacy outside Brooklyn Borough Hall after the press conference.
Before the pilot program launched, Adams said he saw eight or nine rats running past every time he went in or out of Borough Hall.
“That has dissipated — you don’t see that any longer because of the month that we’ve had this rat trap that’s there,” he said.
The city has taken a number of steps to combat its rat problem — it even shelled out $5.6 million for mint-scented trash bags meant to repel the creatures — but none of them have been effective, Adams said.
Adams plans to expand his pilot program to two additional locations — a yet-to-be-chosen NYCHA complex and a location in Bedford-Stuyvesant — and will ask City Council members to allocate funding to “scale up” the program throughout the city, he said.
A recent study found that Brooklyn residents lodged more than 6,500 rat-related 311 complaints in 2018 alone, according to Adams, who called that figure “just the tip of the iceberg.”
“Many people have normalized having rats in their community,” he said. “They’re no longer reporting the infestation problem.”
City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. and Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo both threw their support behind the pilot program.
“I find myself at the epicenter, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, of the rat infestation,” Cornegy said, noting that the number of rat sightings in the neighborhood is “higher than anyplace else in the city.”
Cumbo, meanwhile, said she and other residents of her Brooklyn district have had “far too many run-ins with rats in the community.”
“This is such a serious issue because an invasion of rats in your building, or in your home, is so completely unsettling,” she said. “It is so completely dangerous.”
While Adams himself is a vegan, he said the city’s rodent issue merits a deadly response.
“This is a real crisis,” he said. “And I would be irresponsible to allow my personal feelings about being vegan to get in the way of the trauma of our families and what they are experiencing.”