Aug. 28, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
The city’s new “rat czar” joined Council member Julie Won and local leaders last week for a walking tour of some known rat hot spot areas in western Queens.
Kathleen Corradi, the city’s first-ever director of rodent mitigation, visited the Queensbridge Houses, Queensbridge Park and the Woodside Houses on Aug. 24, where she was provided with updates from local tenant association representatives on efforts to curb rat infestations at the locations. She also visited a construction site on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside, which has been flagged for increased rat activity and pervasive rodent issues.
Corradi has been tasked with leading the effort to drastically reduce the city’s estimated 2 million rats and was appointed to the newly minted position in April by Mayor Eric Adams.
The mayor has escalated his war with the rodent population this year. Part of that effort includes requiring food-related businesses to place sidewalk trash in lidded containers instead of leaving the garbage in black bags. Rats can contaminate food, spread disease and reduce quality of life, according to the Dept. of Health.
Corradi first traveled to the Queensbridge Houses, where she was informed of NYCHA’s weekly rat treatments there which consists of using bait stations, pesticide, and carbon dioxide treatments.
She then visited the Woodside Houses where NYCHA has converted a dirt crawl space into concrete to reduce rat burrowing.
At both the Queensbridge Houses and the Woodside Houses, NYCHA’s pest management team has installed rat-proofing door sweeps as well as wire lathes to secure window wells in order to block the point of entry for rats. The agency has also placed gravel into areas with a high burrow count and removed abandoned garden spaces. and NYCHA tenant association
A spokesperson for Won said that the city is advising residents at the complexes to put their garbage into trash chutes or use cans with the lids down as a means of reducing rats’ access to food sources. The Dept. of Health advises all city residents to store garbage in hard, plastic rat-resistant containers with tight-fitting lids. Other rat mitigation tips include keeping landscaped areas free of tall weeds and filling or sealing cracks or holes in buildings.
At Queensbridge Park, the public park adjacent to the Queensbridge Houses, Corradi assessed rat burrows at the location and the park’s trash disposal methods. She committed to working with the NYC Parks Dept. to address the rat issues at the park.
Corradi’s last stop on the tour was a construction site at 46-11 Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside, which has been flagged for rodents.
The city, according to Won’s spokesperson, has begun abating rat burrows and placing traps at the site. The Dept. of Health had previously visited the site and multiple city agencies will examine the progress of mitigation efforts going forward.
Won said that monitoring and reducing the rat population is vital to the health and safety of residents.
“Rat infestations create unacceptable and uninhabitable conditions for our neighbors in their homes, parks, and businesses,” Won said.