The Big Apple is now so full of vermin that rats are now a must-see tourist attraction.
A form of ‘rat tourism’ now features on New York City visitor itineraries and there’s no shortage of places, from Times Square to Central Park to the city’s subway, all of which are ripe for a weird guy. of rat safari.
The rat infestation has gotten so bad that last year the city’s mayor, Eric Adams, appointed a ‘rat czar’ with the official title of ‘director of rodent control’ – but things do not appear to have improved as rodents continue to thrive.
One of TikTok’s creators, Kenny Bollwerk, has amassed a massive following of 234,000 users by focusing on the most ‘attractive’ places for tourists after he started live-streaming rats running around a construction site in the Queens.
He has now released a number of videos that focus directly on the furry creatures that continue to run their own rampant run through the nation’s most populous city.
Rat tourism has become an unexpected phenomenon in New York, with some of the most popular places streaming live on TikTok.
Some tourists are now seeking rat-related experiences with tour guides who stop at notoriously infested places in particular.
“I was like, ‘Damn, this is bad.’ People are passing by, there are rats running around on their feet, there are piles of trash on the sidewalk,” he said. The Guardian.
He urged viewers to file a complaint with the city’s 311 service, dedicated to handling rat infestations — and in some cases, his efforts paid off.
“We probably had 100 complaints in one night at this place, and the city ended up getting rid of the rats on the site.”
Even though Bollwerk, 36, initially didn’t like these creatures, he was energized by the thousands of viewers who are real rat enthusiasts.
“I’m afraid of them. Every time someone comes at me, I jump. I don’t want them to come near me,” Bollwerk said.
TikTok creator Kenny Bollwerk, 36, initially disliked these creatures, but was spurred on by his thousands of rat-loving viewers enjoying his livestreams.
Bollwerk also believes his shorts will ultimately help residents living in rat-infested neighborhoods, as he urges viewers to call the city to tackle the problem.
Tourists now accompany Bollwerk in its search for places to film the rats
His viewers advised him where to go next to live-stream the rushing rats, while some even joined him on his rounds around the city.
“I had a daughter and a father, and a husband and a wife accompany me. Anything you can think of: Business owners came looking for me. There were people from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; St. Louis, Missouri; Oklahoma City; Vancouver, Canada; Los Angeles. It’s crazy how much it brings people together,” Bollwerk explained.
At first, he started going out three to five times a week. There is no shortage of places where you can find city rats.
Rodents are able to squeeze under fences and through cracks in sidewalks.
Outside restaurants, where trash can often be piled several feet high, rats can be found, while outdoor dining sheds also provide refuge.
Far from rats as mere entertainment, Bollwerk believes his shorts will ultimately help residents living in rat-infested neighborhoods.
A rat searches for food on a sidewalk on 23rd Street near 6th Avenue in New York City last month.
A rat climbs out of a box containing food on the platform of Herald Square tube station
A rat sticks its head out of a trash can as it hunts for food in Bogardus Square in Tribeca.
Last month, Kathleen Corradi, New York City’s ‘rat czar’, found plenty of supporters for the city’s attempts to rid the streets of vermin as the Big Apple celebrated its first-ever ‘Peace Day’. anti-rat action”.
“The fact that it raises awareness of an issue and helps people in their neighborhood – I think that’s why I keep going out and doing it. And through that, I meet so many cool people that I never would have met,” he said.
New York City leaders have been trying to control the rodent population for generations with mixed results, but sightings of rats in city parks, sidewalks and other places have increased and the situation has not changed. only got worse since the pandemic.
Under former mayor Bill de Blasio, the rats survived a multimillion-dollar effort to reduce their numbers through more trash pickups and better housing inspections in targeted neighborhoods.
The city even started a program to use dry ice to smother rats in their hiding places – but the rats still remain.
City officials insist they are winning the war on the rats, with Kathleen Corradi being named the city’s Rat Czar.
In June, the town hall even reported a 15% drop in rat sightings compared to 2022.
Rats know trash cans are a haven for food scraps
It is not uncommon to see rats jumping into open trash cans on city streets.
The city also “celebrated” the Rat Day of Action by launching an “Interactive Rat Map” on the city’s website.
The mayor introduced a “rat mitigation zone” in Harlem earlier this year that would invest $3.5 million to rid the neighborhood of rodents.
In areas where rats are known to be prevalent, “rat mitigation zones” have been designated where authorities bring poison to rats while fining businesses or owners if they do anything. which could encourage rats to thrive.
Restaurants have also been asked to put all their food waste in containers rather than directly in trash bags, in the hope that this extra barrier will make life harder for rodents.
The city also launched its first “Interactive map of rats” the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, and Harlem show the most “rativity” in Manhattan, while Greenwich Village, the East Village, SoHo, and Lower East show the least.
“New York City used to be known for its mean streets, but, going forward, we’re going to be known for our clean streets,” Adams promised early in the summer.
Time will tell if Adams is able to deliver on his promise – but for now, the rats rule.