Community Update regarding the progress of the rat abatement in the East 90’s and the areas that surround the Second Avenue Subway
In the last two months the East 93rd Street Block Association has received innumerable complaints about the rat infestation in our neighborhood. While we encouraged residents to call 311 we also were hearing that nothing was happening despite repeated calls. The continuous blasting due to the construction of the 2nd Avenue Subway and the related vacating of buildings surrounding the construction site has clearly contributed to the rodent problems in our neighborhood. Members of our Association walked the neighborhood interviewing residents and store owners to document, photograph and record the problems. Based on these complaints the Block Association decided that the only route to take was to contact our public officials, Community Board 8, the MTA, and the Mayor’s office.
Below is a chronological e-mail trail of various reports from public officials, the MTA,Community Board 8, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene outlining how this problem is being addressed:
On March 11, 2010 the Association contacted Congress Member Carolyn Maloney’s office by e-mail. Her Chief of Staff, Minna Elias contacted and put us in touch with Marcus Book, MTA Community Affairs. Through this contact and with the help of Carolyn Maloney’s Chief of Staff Minna Elias we were able to reach an agreement with the MTA to conduct a survey of the neighborhood by a private pest control contractor based on our complaints. Although progress was slow on April 13th, 2010 we received the report. As Ms. Elias states: “Clearly, this is a problem that requires a coordinated response.”
Minna Elias’s e-mail of April 13th, 2010 continues: “Attached is a copy of the contractor’s report. Marcus Book from the MTA also noted: “Additional outreach by NYCDOH, Sanitation and the local Community Boards will go a long way in getting the message out to the community.” I have added Lolita Jackson from the Mayor’s office and Latha Thompson, District Manager of Community Board 8 as cc:’s. Clearly, this is a problem that requires a coordinated response.”
April 13th , 2010 e-mail from Latha Thompson, District Manager, Community Board 8, forwards the neighborhood’s complaint to Michael A. Congo, MPH, CHES,Community Affairs Coordinator, Bureau of Intergovernmental Affairs, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and confirms in an e-mail to Ms. Thompson: I’m fwd’ing this to our Pest Control service for investigation and follow up.
On Monday, April 19, 2010 an e-mail from Council Member Daniel Garodnick’s office – Matt Scanlan – Community Liaison
Thank you for your patience with this continued issue. In the past few weeks, the MTA and Department of Health (DOH) have been coordinating an extermination effort on your block and the block between 1st and 2nd Avenues on 92nd Street. While you may have heard this information, they have made progress in identifying the key factors that have led to this rat increase. As you know, rats need food and shelter—and the MTA and the DOH have identified the rats’ burrows in your neighborhood, along with the areas where garbage is providing food. The abandoned building on the northeast corner of 92nd and 2nd has been confirmed as the main source of rat issues. Friday, the MTA baited this building and cleaned out the garbage. Additionally, a number of other burrows have been observed—including two in front of 318 E 93rd Street. MTA and DOH will be working closely with that building owner to make sure bait stations are maintained.
The second major issue is garbage, which provides a stable food source for the rats. The MTA noted that many building owners on 93rd do not have lawful metal garbage receptacles. Without metal containers that are sealed, the rats can easily access the refuse. Our office is currently putting together a letter to building owners on 93rd, informing them of the proper garbage storage laws. We are requesting that building owners properly store garbage and have compliant containers by the end of the month.
In conversations with the DOH’s Rodent Task Force, it seems very likely that once bait stations are strategically set, and garbage containers are rat-proofed, you and your neighbors will no longer have to worry about this rat infestation. Thank you again for your continued vigilance in this matter.
Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick
In a follow up conversation on April 28th with Matt Scanlan – all the building owner addresses have now been received from Latha Thompson at Community Board 8 and Council Member Garodnick’s office is requesting that “building owners properly store garbage and have compliant containers by the end of the month.”
From the Office of Council Member Jessica Lappin on April 20, 2010:
Thanks for your email to Council Member Lappin which has been forwarded to me as her staff member responsible for rodent-related matters.
The Department of Health Rodent Task Force will be performing an in-depth rodent analysis of East 93rd Street and a site visit to the areas highlighted in your pictures and emails.
I will continue to pass on any information that I receive.
Office of Council Member Jessica Lappin
April 24th, 2010 e-mail from Assembly Member Kellner’s office updates from Ashley Roberts – Community Liaison:
On the rat issue, I have been talking with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since last week. They performed a walk-through with the MTA last Thursday of Second Avenue between 92nd and 95th Street and told me that they recommended that in the area the MTA attach their bait stations more securely and space them 18 feet apart, in addition they suggested that they include bio-marked bait along with regular bait (this will apparently help better track the infestation). We have written a letter to the MTA requesting confirmation that they have adhered to these recommendations.
While this is helpful, the Assembly Member still wants the Dept. of Health to perform a specific investigation of East 93rd Street and East 92nd Street between First and Second Avenues, something that was not covered in last Thursday’s walk-through, and which is outside the Second Avenue Subway work zone. I will let you know as soon as I have any updates. In the meantime, if you or anyone else in your building or on the block sees any new evidence of rats please let me know so that I can pass it along. Any additional information always helps.
Office of Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner
Also attached is a letter dated April 21, 2010 from Assembly Member Kellner to Thomas F. Pendergast, President of the MTA New York City Transit seeking confirmation and assurance that all recommended actions by DOHMH have been implemented and that the MTA will continue to monitor this situation.
Based on the Block Association’s most recent conversations the week of April 26th with Latha Thompson, District Manager, Community Board 8. The Department of Health, with the MTA have completed a survey from 91st Street to 96th Street last week and we are now on the Rodent Task Force Abatement List and the area will be on a continuous surveillance list with monitoring. It should also be noted that the MTA continues their rodent abatement program in the Second Avenue Subway construction site.
May 3rd e-mail from David Kimball-Stanley of Dan Garodnick’s office:
This is David Kimball-Stanley, the new Community Liaison in the office of Councilman Dan Garodnick. I thought I would give you an update on what we’ve been up to on this issue.
We had the MTA give us a detailed report on the street and the rat problem, and they said that one of the contributing factors was likely the easy access the rats had to trash on the street. So, last week we sent out a letter to the business owners on the street to take extra care with their trash disposal. On May 14th, we will have the Department of Health do an inspection of the block to make sure the street does not have rat-friendly conditions.
I will continue to give you updates as we keep working on this. Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions.
Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick
W: (212) 818-0580
F: (212) 818-0706
May 4th e-mail update from Ashley Roberts:
I wanted to pass along the information from the Dept. of Health inspection of your block last week. Attached is a map of the area which shows the results of the inspection. You can find out the details of the inspection (date/reason for the violation/address) on the Dept. of Health’s “Rat Portal”. Just follow these directions:
Then click on “Rat Map & Data” and click on “continue to map” button on the middle of the webpage
Under “intersection or street address”, Input the intersection “93rd Street and First Avenue”; choose “Manhattan” under borough
A map of the intersection of 1st Avenue and 93rd Street will show up on your screen; from the “tool” bar on the top of the map, choose a “zoom out” button and zoom out until your map shows the entire block between 93rd between 1st and 2nd Avenue.
From the tool bar on the top of the map, choose “I” icon and click the property in question.
The details with property address, the date of the inspection and violation will pop up.
According to the Dept. of Health from here the property owners are given specific information about the violations and informing them to abate—at this step, they are given a chance to comply. If they haven’t complied by the time we go back out there in a few weeks to do a compliance inspection, we will fine and bait at the expense of the owner. Our office will continue to check in with the Dept. of Health to see that either the owners have complied with the actions mandated by the violations or the Dept. of Health and done it for them.
Please continue to let me know if conditions improve or not. This is the best way for us to know if what the Dept. of Health is doing is working. In addition, at the CB8 District Cabinet meeting last week the issue was brought up with Dept. of Sanitation about buildings leaving their garbage out at incorrect times. A representative from Dept. of Sanitation said that they would check the area and take the necessary steps of getting building owners to comply with the rules surrounding garbage.
I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Office of Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner
Please check the website for weekly updates and information or e-mail: email@example.com