City Official Says Rats Damaging Tourism in NYC


Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer says the rats that run rampant on New York City streets and in subway tunnels are a turn-off to tourists, and is demanding $1.5 million be restored to the budget to control the city's "horrific" problem.

Over the last year, Stringer says there has been a 1.5% increase in complaints about the rats on 311, the city service phone line for New York.

Stringer is urging Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials to wage a war against the pests before the problem comes back to "bite them."

"When rats walk down the street with their shoulders upright like they own the neighborhood, we have a problem," says Stringer, who was backed at a press conference by pest control workers who were recently laid off.

Mayor Bloomberg shot back at a separate press conference, saying rat numbers are down in areas where the city is focusing their efforts. He spoke highly of a new strategy that holds neighborhoods accountable instead of individual lots.

"We're doing the right thing and unfortunately, some of the elected officials just aren't as informed as I'd like them to be about what we're doing," says Bloomberg.

Stringer's announcement comes just after a new YouTube video of a rat running loose through a subway car emerged. In the video, screaming and giggling riders jumped on subway seats before the brazen critter escapes out the door and into a subway station.

Rats aren't the only pests turning tourists off from visiting New York. Reports of bed bugs invading places like the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel have surfaced, as well as retail stores that make popular tourist stops.

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