The Hustle

NYC’s pricey rodent revolt may finally be working

rat sightings NYC over time

Olivia Heller

You’re paying $3.5k per month for that one-bedroom New York City shoebox, but Pizza Rat is living inside Mayor Eric Adams’ head rent-free.

New York’s rat problem isn’t anything new, but progress on it sure is. And progress is appearing to be made.

This all comes after:

It’s too early to tell if we’re out of the woods

Rats have long been an issue. Way back in 1982 — yup, 1982 is “way back” — the UN estimated rats destroyed 42m+ tons of food worldwide, worth $30B. More recent estimates have pegged rats’ worldwide economic damage between 1930 and 2022 at $297.4B.

In New York, Mayor Giuliani once tossed $8m at the issue. Mayor Bloomberg created a “rodent academy” for public employees. Mayor de Blasio committed $32m in 2017, but covid snagged efforts.

And that’s just the money. Cases of leptospirosis in NYC have been on the rise, and studies have connected rat infestations to anxiety and depression.

All that’s to say, the rat race may be showing signs of weakness, but it ain’t over yet.

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