Nightmare Park Makes Me Want to Keep My Kids Inside


Tompkins Square ParkImagine watching your kids run around the local playground, digging in the sandbox, swinging on the swings, meeting the neighbor kids, and ... fighting off rats everywhere they turned. Sounds like a horror flick, but it's the reality for patrons of one New York park where rats have overrun the place

In the East Village, Tompkins Square Park was once a lovely place. It got all new playground equipment in 2009, and was even named one of the city's top parks. Now it's one of the top hangouts for rats -- lots of rats.

"You have to run away because they think it's their territory," one woman told the New York Post.

"You can hear them in the bushes squeaking," a man told the paper. "The park is their breeding ground." Others said the rats actually crawl up the children's legs.

After reading this, I'm not sure I'll be able to go to any park in the near future without being on the lookout for rats, and I don't live anywhere near New York. I'm not sure I'll even be able to sleep.

The Parks Department says it's doing its job by keeping it clean, but the rats come anyway. Poison, they say, isn't an option because of a red-tailed hawk that lives nearby. I can't believe they'd rather rats run up children's legs than a hawk perhaps ingesting some poison. I love animals, but something is wrong with that logic if you ask me.

I can't imagine anything I'd rather see less in a park where my kids play than rats. *shudder* Well, actually I can -- pedophiles, dirty syringes, guns, drugs ... and the list goes on. The fact is that there are few spaces in the world that are completely safe anymore for our children; even spaces designed for them can be harmful to them. It's sad ... and too bad a little poison couldn't wipe out all of the problems as easily as it could the rats.

What's the scariest thing you've ever seen in a park?

Image via edenpictures/Flickr

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sara_... sara_7106

Poison seems like a bad idea for an area where children play. There must be another way to trap them. Where is the pied piper when you need him?

Julie... Julieryanevans

true, but  you'd think they could close the park for a period, poison them all, then open the park back up when they were gone... though I like the pied piper idea better :)

marie... mariesmama

leave a pregnant momma cat or 2 in the park not only will she have food she'll train others to hunt too

alway... alwayscurious

I would go for owls personally. They look cool, and would help the hawk eat up all the ratties! 

Stasi... Stasiaandkksmom

i used to live near tompkins sq park and im telling you from experience rat are the least of the problems there.

tyrel... tyrelsmom

How about bringing a whole pack of terriers there after hours.

Char_... Char_gal4

I vote terriers.  Feral cats can be dangerous, though Trap Neuter Release programs help keep them in check.

Lesli... Lesliemom2mzjm

I would think there would be some mini-trap, like we get from the animal shelter for the larger pest animals that occasionally wonder into town.  We have to call for them for the possums and racoons every year.  I think they release the possums elsewhere, but they euthanize the racoons because of the high incidence of rabid racoons in my state.  They would put food and poisen in the traps, the rats couldn't go out and then the hawks would be safe.  The traps could be the lockable kind with solid walls maybe even behind larger type cages so that kids couldn't get to them.  I just know I wouldn't stand for that.  It might be an outdoor place, but I would still imagine it's a health violation.  Bring on the hungry cats...they could round up all the poor pitiful cats without homes, spay them and drop them there.  After they've done their job, they could have a citywide adoption thing to help find homes.  This is just icky....can't imagine it!

hotic... hoticedcoffee

A large population of rats is very hard to kill. They're smart buggers with a fairly high capacity to learn.  They're hard to poison because they quickly learn not to eat something that killed another rat.  They're hard to trap for the same reason.  They need to be actively pursued and destroyed - either by a person or a predator.  If the problem is that bad, I don't have any idea how the city would tackle it, especially since it's an open space where the rats can leave during a threat and return later.

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