NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was outrage on the Upper West Side this weekend, with parents saying huge rats are ruining their visits to the neighborhood.
They also told CBS2’s Erin Logan their concerns are not being taken seriously and they have had enough.
“A ton of rats,” said Sam Valera. “It grosses me out because there’s so many.”
Rats of all sizes have been spotted all over the place at the Toll Family Playground in Central Park.
“We just got here like 20 minutes ago, and I just saw a mouse in the sprinkler and then there was like three rats just in the border,” said Lauren Frank.
Dozens of rats were spotted right under a bench, in the grass, and along the border of the playground. Parents were concerned — especially for the little ones who don’t know any better.
“It’s totally disgusting,” Frank said. “People are complaining about it, but obviously, nothing is being done.”
The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation did not have anyone to go on camera. They told CBS 2 there have been no complaints here from the Toll Family Playground, though there have at others and action is being taken.
City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal (D-6th) said playgrounds in Riverside Park are among the others with rodents. She says because of a recent uptick in rats, more needs to be done other than mechanical traps and increased trash pickups.
“The Parks Department is going to have to figure out a way to respond in order to address this problem,” Rosenthal said. “We can no longer use poison, because the hawks eat the poisoned rats.”
In the meantime, Rosenthal said she has been working with the Riverside Park Conservancy to put Big Belly bins in some area parks and replace the old garbage receptacles that rats can easily get in.
The bins are powered by the sun and are an automatic compactor. They are expected to be put in place in the next six months.
One mother, Jemima Unterhalter, said she can’t even wait six hours.
“It’s what every mother and father wants down here,” Unterhalter said.
As the changes are made, parents await the opportunity to have some family fun without the disgust and annoyance of rats ruining their days and nights.