Rats infest Lower Manhattan park

July 29, 2010 3:45:11 AM PDT
Rats are plaguing Collect Pond Park in Lower Manhattan. Some even call the park "Rat Zoo."

By day, it is the two-legged feathered scavenger known as the pigeon that finds discarded food and survival in the park. But at night, residents say it's a different vermin.

"The rats come out at night and they scurry around," park visitor Lloyd Oxendine said.

The rats come out by the dozens, and maybe many more.

A video appearing on the website nyctheblog.com shows the rats scurrying about.

Collect Pond Park is a little sliver of a plaza on the corner of Centre and Leonard Streets.

It was the focus of attention that night.

"There is a dozen there, another couple of dozen over there," the video's narrative said.

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The rats scurry around and are not concerned at all with the people, only the food they find there.

"Fifty or 100, they never come out in the daytime," Oxendine said.

Now those who have seen the rats say they have made their home in the areas of the park that have fallen into disrepair, where they sidewalk has collapsed, allowing them to hide in the cracks and crevices.

"I don't go in the park at night," visitor Ross McNeil said.

McNeil says he sees the problem, despite the presence of bait boxes, just feeding off itself.

"You put down the rat stuff and they throw bread around," he said. "They aren't thinking about going into the rat trap when there is food all over the place."

A Parks Department worker appeared to be doing what he said was routine maintenance in the park, while another was clearing up the cans and wrappers left behind.

"They clean it, the debris away," Oxendine said.

But Oxendine and others believe the rats should not be scurrying around the park like they own the place.