Upper East Side restaurants battle with rat infestation

Lauren Glassberg reports from Yorkville.
February 18, 2014 3:12:36 PM PST
The 10128 zip code may be posh, but the mice and rats in the Carnegie Hill and Yorkville areas neighborhoods are not.

"You just see tons of rats," said Corey-Lopez Thomas, owner of the café DTUT in the Upper East Side.

Thomas blames the construction of the Second Avenue Subway line for the infestation.

The café has an "A" rating, but has had issues with mice.

A new report posted on Gothamist reveals that half the restaurants in the swanky neighborhood have "evidence of mice or live mice present."

"I cannot get my mind around it," said Jean Malbranche, a resident of the neighborhood. "It's really disgusting."

The study found the highest percentage in Queens Village, where 60 percent of the 23 eateries there had evidence of vermin. Even restaurants with an "A" or "B" rating may still have mice.

The only rat-free restaurants were on Roosevelt Island.

At the very least, the 10128 neighborhood has an excuse.

"The digging [in] the subway tunnel [leads to] a lot of mice coming outside," said George Barbosa. "I have two buildings and I put plenty poison and poison - it never finishes, never stop."

Restaurant owners are reaching deep into their wallets to combat the growing problem.

"We are as vigilant as possible but it's also costing thousands of dollars to do so," said Thomas. "It will bankrupt you at the end, spending all that money trying to do it."

Thomas is hoping to stay in business, even when some folks will be taking their business to other parts of the city.

"I don't eat around here so I kind of go downtown for my eating experiences," said Malbranche.