New York City Rat Problem so Bad Now They're a Tourist Attraction

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It’s long been said that New York City is a rat race, but now tourists are coming not to see the Empire State Building, Broadway, or the Statue of Liberty—but instead to witness the rat hordes. While the Big Apple has always been home to these nasty thick-tailed rodents, their population has exploded in the last several years.

There were over 60,000 reports of rat activity citywide in 2022 — a shocking 102 percent increase from 2021, according to Health Department data.

So far this year, there have been over 39,000 reports of rat activity.

As former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel once said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” NYC entrepreneurs are taking that advice to heart and offering tours for eager visitors who want to check out the rat hotspots for themselves:

Kenny Bollwerk maps out late-night rat routes near Rockefeller Center and in Flushing and Sunnyside, Queens.

Luke Miller, owner of Real New York Tours, adds a stop to Columbus Park near Chinatown for tourists with a yen for vermin.

“They [the rats] are like the new celebs in New York City with all the press they are getting,” said Miller.

Rats gained popularity in 2015 when the infamous “Pizza Rat” became an internet celebrity for carrying an entire slice down the stairs of a subway station.


“Rats are like a New York City mascot,” said Bollwerk. “People want to see it for themselves.”

Mayor Eric Adams has gone on record declaring his hatred of rats, and in April, even named a “rat czar” to try to combat the problem. It doesn’t appear to be working. 

Don’t fall asleep on the problem:

Besides tours, there are live streams that rat aficionados can tune into:

Bollwerk’s free walking tours of rat hotspots include busted-up sidewalks and construction sites where the rodents squeeze themselves under fences and through sidewalk cracks, and restaurants in Sunnyside and Forest Hills where garbage is piled high, and abandoned outdoor dining shacks provide rodent refuge.

Up to 10,000 people at a time tune in to Bollwerk’s TikTok live streams as he explores rodent-infested areas.

This one will give you pause:

If you’re a rat devotee, you can watch live streams of the uncuddly rodents here.

While there’s something darkly funny about tourists going out of their way to witness marauding rats, there’s also a serious side: they spread disease. It’s tempting to lay the blame for the scourge on blue city mayors and the soft-on-crime district attorneys who are ruining so many American metropolises, but it’s only fair to point out that rodents have plagued the Big Apple for centuries, and their presence is nothing new (and the woke DAs don’t actually have jurisdiction over them).

But guess where you can lay some of the blame for the calamitous rise in their numbers? You guessed it—the draconian COVID policies laid down by mostly Democrat officials. Even the New York Times has to admit it:

When restaurants closed, rats had to scavenge outside more. They found gutters and street-corner baskets clogged with trash because of cuts in the Sanitation Department budget. Illegal dumping increased. With most people stuck at home, so did residential waste.

Along the way, the city inspectors who hunt for evidence of rats were assigned elsewhere, including mass vaccination sites and restaurants, where their mission was to see that customers’ proofs of vaccination were being checked.

Thank you, overzealous pandemic extremists, who caused this and so much other damage to our nation.

As much as people are disgusted by the thick-tailed rodents, though, many can’t stop watching. This video has picked up over 7.6M views:

Dare I say it? For this and many other reasons, our once amazing cities are now like… drowning rats.

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