Vault: Rats the size of cats terrorize Bryant Park in 1980

MANHATTAN (WABC) -- As any New Yorker knows, garbage and rats are inseparable, and in the summer of 1980, the critters were proliferating in Bryant Park and even running amok on the steps of the New York Public Library next door.

Bryant Park in 1980 was still seen as a menacing place to be avoided, and reflecting that view of the park, reporter John Slattery said that if you thought the only creatures that came out after sundown here "were the derelicts and the drug pushers from Bryant Park next door," you were wrong.

Watch out for the rats, he reported, some of them the size of cats, gorging on the piles of garbage all around town.

A parks worker told Slattery that poisoned wafers slipped into rat holes were a tool in the war on rats, and that's just what there were doing outside the library, but there were simply too many holes and too many rats.

"In an area of this size with this much holes around the place, this much soil and dirt they can dig all the way under, any place they want to go," observed Howard Krieger, parks supervisor, acknowledging the impossibility of the task.

"They're here for good," Slattery concluded.

Krieger did not dispute that conclusion.

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