Rats Overrunning Tompkins Square Park Because Of Protected Hawk

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — In 2010, New York Magazine named Tompkins Square Park the “best playground in the city” but now, many say the park is unusable because rats have taken over.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports

Parents say the park’s new $1.5 million playground is surrounded by hundreds of rat holes. They say rats even get into the children’s sandbox.

City officials stopped putting down rat poison to protect a resident red-tailed hawk. Official say if the hawk eats a poisoned rat, it too will die.

The Parks Department has put out special garbage cans that prevent rats from getting inside and have covered the rat holes with woodchips.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Ratify a new Policy?

    Maybee we can erect a Mousewitz for global sustainability reasons

  • Felix the cat

    mmmm I loves rats!!!

  • President Orodent

    to my closest rodent friends, this is Barrack Hussein Orodent, I want to welcome you to America! A place where you can be born in other lands and still not be held accountable. Feel free to rip the park to shreds, we will pay for it with “increased causcasian revenue” better known as “taxing whitey”…I have formed a 4300 member panel made up mostly of my friends from Chicago and my mother in law, to decide how best to handle the problems facing rodents in the inner cities. Until then, please feel free to decimate America!

  • Mayor Rattus Rattusbeg

    Dear rats of NY, As your mayor and leader I want to extend my warmest welcome to you and and your family…Tomorrow we will begin construction on your very own “rat lanes” on Broadway and through my favorite part of the city, Greenwich Village, where all your cabaret dreams can come true. I am taking appropiate steps to make sure that no snap traps will be used, much like the way we have banned trans fat……Keep on scurrying!!! I am Mayor Turdberg and I approved this Message.

  • Mayor Rattus Rattusberg

    I am the mayor and no rat will be harmed. They are now able to vote and I plan on running for a 4th term as soon as I pay off the other rodents in the city council.

  • kendra

    THATS true as for the bird why don,t they just build a kind of structure around it to protect it that way instead of just saying where just basically using the park for the for the bird instead of for the children whose use of the park is for and as for the rat problem put poison down to get rid of them what seems to be the problem it should be know big idea id you ask me.

  • wake up

    my goodness what is wrong with society?? do you people only know about chemicals and drugs in order to solve a problem. Rats are there because of people US! we are the dirty ones. this city’s population and imploded and people like the ones who are saying to kill a magestic predator are most likely the same ones who throw garbage every where and have no consideration for anyone or anything else. I just came back from Florida and there is no garbage on the floor. the area is impecably clean i come home and its back to the dirt and grime. COme on new yorkers the parks are not ours!! we dont own a park it is a natural habitat that is filled with life how can people still think so arrogantly its disgusting. we should just get rid of the inconsiderate humans and i’m sure that will solve the problem. bring in more predators such as falcons, hawks, and owls. they keep the ecosystem healty and will force people to be clean. we dont own we share.

  • man from the old way

    the hell with that bird i kick the bid out

  • John

    It was bound to happen, stop smoking in the parks and now the rats are agitated! Give the rats back thier right to smoke in the park and they will agree to come out only after the cops close the gates at midnight. I can’t believe no one did the math here. Sheesh!

  • Jack Nickle-less

    I see a money-maker here: NYC’s first rat-designed miniature golf course!

  • bill

    Why not close the park down for a while and put traps down with some cheese and kill the rats. It shouldnt be that hard to do.

  • NYC Girl 917

    Let me make ths REALLY REALLY simple for you – we set a price of a $1 per dead rat turned into the city – figure out a way to dispose of them and let people make money off this problem and really make a dent in this city’s growing rat problem.
    Homeless people can make some extra cash, the rats are killed and the city becomes less disgusting. It really is a WIN WIN situation all around. I do think that restarurants and pedestrians should be fined more severly though for poor trash disposal and littering.

  • Rob

    The only reason the rats are at that location is because people are such pigs. How about rat-proof garbage cans and fines for people/restaurants who provide food for these rodents?

  • Nikki

    Parks has a couple of options. Find another nest for the hawk , Fill the burrows with poison and cover them . Bring more hawks and owls to the park from your neighbors in NYU and Stuy Town.

    • Steve

      A good point, Nikki.

      The city should think about importing more predators.

      NY’s rat population could BALLOON – this, together with sanitation cuts, and it might not be long before NY faces a true rat crisis.

  • Dave

    I’m all for protecting the hawk but he/she better start pullin his weight around and taking care of these rats. Call in some of his or her hawk friends and start takin care of business.

  • Lisa

    More hawks please.


    Catch the hawk and relocate it. DUH

  • Sam

    like wood chips are going to do anything…HELLO they’re only going to dig back in them again..DUH!

  • The Answer Guy

    Fill the holes with children. Problem solved.

    • Scott

      That is so funny. I have three of my own that could be used. Just trying to help !

    • CK

      How about we fill the hole with your fat ass!

      • Theresa

        How about you go eff your self?

  • brooklyn4ever

    Hope the door did not hit you on the butt on your way out Marcus!

  • Afan Sitagyl-Manor

    The deluded rat-huggers at PETA and H$U$ won’t like it, but I agree that rat hunting season with BB guns would be a totally effective – and fun – way to reduce the rat population. We could also revive ratcatching as an urban sport. Using ferrets and rat terriers to capture and kill the prey, ratcatchers could per paid per tail and find work all over the city, wherever rats are found. I can’t think of a better, more entertaining way to spend an evening than a few hours’ ratcatching!

  • Wolfman

    How about a few hungry cats?

  • Marcus

    There’s something wrong with a government(city) that protects the life of a bird rather then the lives of children. That’s why I left.

    • Bye-bye Marcus!

      How about we let the rats feed on YOU Marcus?!? I feel sorry for whatever city had to take you on. Losing you is definitely our gain.

      There are plenty of alternatives to poison for controling the rats so that the park is safe for ALL…

      First, how about we stop leaving our garbage around and throwing it on the ground. Someone else recommended cats. There are always non-poisonous traps.

      To all of those who think it is just about the hawk it’s not. Poison is dangerous to human children playing nearby too!

      Maybe we wouldn’t have to worry about protecting one hawk if WE didn’t destroy their habitat. Nonetheless, the hawk should be respected and it is our responsibility to coincide hamoniously with hawks and other city dwelling animals.

      • reason

        keep hugging that tree moron

      • MissDaisy

        Red tail hawks and rats don’t swing or slide down slides you idiot. Playgrounds are for children not rats and birds. Geez!

    • Mike

      Exactly! 3000 babies a day slaughtered in this country, and animal, which I like, are considered more important. Look at the morons mocking this post, that goes to show you what clueless idiots we have in this world that could care less about human life. Must be liberals, because libs are morons!

      • AniMal LuVa

        YOU are the moron Mike. It doesn’t look like anyone mentioned children aren’t important. People are allowed to care about both human and animal. You’re the type of person that runs over an innocent dog or cat in the road with your child in the car and keeps going. It is people like you that the the world is falling apart

    • Ya moron

      That’s the parent’s job, Marcus, but thanks for leaving!

  • BIG ROB!

    I grew up on 10th street directly across from the park. I played in that park. It was never as infested as it is now. You can walk down the street and see them walking along side you. It’s even worse at night and you would think that with all the improvements that they have made to the neighborhood, this wouldnt be a problem. Something needs to be done now, not later!! First corpses, now rats! Whats next….out of work House republicans?!?!?!?

    • Snicker

      Just show the rats Obama’s spending plan – that’ll scare them out!

      • Guffaw

        Har! Remember when everyone loved him!

  • Steve

    LOL! There’s a “children’s sandbox” in Tompkins Park???!!! And parents actually allow their children to get within 20 ft of it?? Yes, I would think there are rats, along with many many other things in there! (needles? human feces and urine from the local bum population, etc. etc.) Hmmm…..

  • Clemdane

    They should definitely relocate the hawk.

  • noah smith

    Call in bb gun enthusiasts that will love to hunt down and kill the rats with their low powered air riffles.Harmless to humans deadly for rats.

    • ejones

      Expert archers with hunting blunts would be better, as they would collect their ammo for re-use.
      Issue permits to a few archers who have passed a proficiency test, offer a per-rat bounty, and let them hunt at night when the park is empty of children and the rats are active.
      If it works there, we could try adapting it for use in the subway.

  • Geanette

    Don’t leave food around to feed them. Throw all garbage in covered rat resistent garbage cans. My understanding that rats stay at least 100 yards from the food source….stop feeding them and they will go away!!

  • michael mars

    Then City Hall has to bring in 1000 red tailed hawks and let them have a rat feast!

  • Dale Auburn

    Why does a hawk have more rights than the taxpayers who PAY for the park?

    Somebody should just capture the hawk and move it elsewhere, then drop poison to get rid of the rats. That way, we New Yorkers can enjoy OUR park.

  • Milo

    Black and white rats are not the kind of rats found in city parks…they are usually pets…. Wrong picture guys

  • Gregory

    Don’t leave food, garbage or food waste paper around in otherwords clean-up after yourselves. Use rat and animinal proof garbage containers. There is an alternative. Trap the rats and use them for food as done in some Asian countries. It’s high protein, low fat meat, just like what Washington says we should all be eating. Also, such could be envirmentally friendly especially when served with Gulf seafood.

    • jtorres

      I agree with cleaning up after yourself and not littering but there is a problem with using these rats for food. These are not garden rats or field mice or the cute white ones you buy at the pet store to feed a snake. These are sewer rats. All of them are filthy and diseased and most of them have rabies. Are you really going to feed someone a rabid animal? If you move the hawk it will just find it’s way back. I hate to be cold-hearted but one hawk’s life is not worth losing a park. Get rid of the rats now any way you can because they are not going to go away on their own

    • Ratso Rizzo

      Dear Gregory, I am a rat and do not appreciate you trying to have me whacked.Watch out or I will send some of my friends to your house and eat your wiring! sincerely Ratso Rizzo from Bensonhurst

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