New York, like other metropolitan cities including Philadelphia and Chicago, faces a major rat problem.
According to the New York Times, rat complaints have risen from 12,617 in 2014 to 17,353 last year. That’s a 38% jump citywide — and comes even after Mayor Bill de Blasio allocated $32 million in 2017 to reduce the number of the rodents.
“As a result, we saw a 9% decline in rat complaints across the city last year, the biggest drop in 12 years,” Seth Stein, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office, told USA TODAY.
The mayor’s plan focused on Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and the Grand Concourse along the Bronx, according to the New York Times.
But now, the trash-loving rodent gang has migrated to the city’s Upper West Side, according to the New York Post. The neighborhood boasts the highest number of rat complaints across the city.
OpenTheBooks.com analyzed the number of calls for rats to 311 and found that, according to the Post, “the rats are running wild in this fancy area.”
A local publication called West Side Rag agreed that the Upper West Side has an extreme rat problem. “We’re like the Tom Brady of rats. All we do is win,” an article reads.
The New York Post reported that since the New York City Department of Sanitation pulled 110 trash cans out of the neighborhood over the last 12 months, trash has been overflowing.
“In the past year, we removed bins in this district because they did not fit the criteria or were being chronically misused,” Dina Montes, press secretary for the New York City Department of Sanitation, told USA TODAY.
But the removal of the bins might not be having the proper effect.
Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal of Manhattan told the New York Post that her office receives calls about the trash. “I don’t think removing garbage cans does what they think it is supposed to do.”
Stein said the mayor’s office has ordered the Department of Sanitation to stop removing bins immediately: “We will not be removing any of the 800-plus bins the district currently has,” said Montes.
Though the number of complaints regarding rats coming from the Upper West Side is the highest, it may not reflect the actual population of rats in the area.
“There has been an increase in complaints, but this, in part, is due to high numbers of duplicate complaints in this neighborhood,” Michael Lanza, spokesperson for the New York City Department of Health, told USA TODAY.
The department leaves a 90-day window to address complaints of rats, and any complaints made again within that time are classified as duplicate, Lanza explained.
Melissa Elstein, secretary and co-founder of the West 80s Neighborhood Association, said the problem could be solved if neighborhoods were to institute bins for recycling and for food waste.
The rats come to areas with overflowing trash cans because they are a food source.
Regardless of how the situation is addressed on the Upper West Side, rats are a forever presence in New York City. The Yankees’ minor league baseball team even considered a name change to the “Staten Island Pizza Rats” in 2016. They kept it for a season and now it’s back by popular demand.
9-year-old genius to graduate university
(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.
Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.
Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.
He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.
His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.
“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.
Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.
While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.
But Lydia has her own theory.
“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.
The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.
“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.
“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”
Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.
“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”
Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”
His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.
“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.
“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”
While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.
“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”
Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.
However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.
In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.
Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.
New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne
Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem
Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.
The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.
Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.
🚨WANTED for ASSAULT: on 11/6 at approx 3:43 PM in front of 128 West 112th St in Manhattan, a 32 yr old male was walking with his 8 yr old son when a white BMW jumped the curb & hit the father & son. The driver then got out and slashed the father. Call @NYPDTips with any info. pic.twitter.com/cwd79rcM4c
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 15, 2019
Father and son were both knocked through a gate.
The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.
One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.
McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.
McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.
Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.
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