"This is my 8-year-old's room that I have to seal off, because the smell is unbearable," renter Ann Marchena said.
Who knows how long the foot-long rat that Marchena discovered has been decomposing in the walls, but the maggots do. She says she discovered it last week.
"I'm so angry, because my 8-year-old keeps telling me mommy, 'why can't I play with my toys? Mommy that's our home, what's going on?' I don't know how to explain that to her," Marchena said.
Cell phone video shows a rat gnawing through Marchena's light fixture a month ago. It's the second infestation in two years.
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What the 42-year-old mother is seeing is happening citywide - rat and mice sightings are up 30% from 2019 to 2021.
But in some neighborhoods, it's even worse - up more than 100% in the last year in Ditmars Steinway, Queens, City Island, the Upper East Side, Lenox Hill, Yorkville and Mott Haven.
Marchena's Bronx home, not the worse, but not the best either - is up 44% from 2021.
"I'm scared to be here. I'm not gonna lie," she said.
The map below shows where the most rat sightings are happening now. In Brooklyn, it shows Bedford Stuyvesant, Bushwick and Prospect Heights. In Manhattan, it shows the Upper West Side, Manhattanville and Morningside Heights.
There are more rats, possibly due to empty pandemic streets or outdoor dining or lagging trash pickup.
"It's embarrassing. Like, how do you tell people you can't come to my house because it smells. Or you can't come to my house because you might get a rat on top of you. Oh wait, I also have maggots," Marchena said.
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Eyewitness News tried to call Marchena's landlord David Eisenstein about the issue but did not hear back.
Marchena says she moved herself and her girls to the unit next door, although it's smaller and shares the walls with her current, rat-infested apartment.
"This is not healthy for my children. I just want to live peaceful, that's all," Marchena said.
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