Ratted out in the East Village

July 27, 2011 2:32:07 PM PDT
Rats and more rats are infesting Tompkins Square Park.

And kids are playing on a playground just recently re-done for more than a million dollars. People say it doesn't add up.

The New York City Parks Department says you won't find any rat poison out here these days. They are protecting a red tailed hawk, which also calls this park home.

"When rats eat poison they don't die immediately, and catching them kills hawks and other animals eat them," Glenn Phillips, from the New York City Audubon Society said.

The problem, he says, is not rats. It's people: fellow New Yorkers who insist on leaving out food. The food creates the mess. If there were no food, then there would be no rats.

That means closing garbage cans so that rats can't get into them. That's something the Parks Department is already doing. Most of the really big rats come out at dusk.

Some residents told us they are not fans of poison or rats, but worry about children and their pets.

"If the hawk dies from the poison, the dogs do too," a resident said.