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Neighbors: Fearless Rats Have Commandeered Park In Woodside, Queens

NYC Says It Has Taken Action, But Councilman Says It's Nowhere Near Enough

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Neighbors and a local city councilman have called on the city to step up its efforts, as a park in Woodside, Queens remains overrun with rats.

As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported Wednesday night, John Vincent Daniels Jr. Square, at Roosevelt Avenue between 50th and 52nd streets in Queens, should be a tranquil place. Instead, there’s a rat race going on — in the most literal sense.

CBS 2 spotted some kids watching the rats running around the park. Their mother decided to stand far away.

“I use to play with my kids here, but now not, because it’s too scary; I mean, dangerous,” Delia Tenazake said.

Parkgoers said they have found the rats right at their feet.

“When you walk, you’ve got to (stomp),” one man said.

“Once, I was walking, it was just across my feet,” said Sophia Ostapenko of Woodside. “I was like, ‘Aaaaah!’”

Parks and Recreation, Sanitation, and Health and Mental Hygiene department officials said they are working together on the problem, but added it is an uphill battle with trash cans overflowing and people feeding pigeons.

Weeks ago, they put out poisoned bait in special boxes, filled rat holes, and cut back brush.

Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-26th) said he’s not impressed.

“Whatever is being done is inadequate. They need to have a team here every single day until all of these rats are gone; until they have a hold on this problem,” he said. “Rats are dirty. They’re disgusting. But they also also carrying disease.”

When someone brought a big dog to the park, the rats scurried away. But such a solution is only temporary.

“I’ve got five cats in my building, behind my building. I never saw a rat,” said neighbor Oscar Cane. When asked if cats should be brought to the park, he said “Why not?”

Fed up residents have urged the city to get creative, and really rid the area of the rats once and for all.

New York City residents can report rats in a park or in many other locations by calling 311, or filling out one of several online forms.

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