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June 25, 2011

Atlantic Yards Rat-O-Rama

New York Times, In Brooklyn, the Rats Move Out Before the Nets Move In
By Liz Robbins

Residents living in the shadow of the Atlantic Yards arena project in Brooklyn shared horror stories on Thursday evening about cohabiting with rodents, and in the telling the rats seemed to grow to Godzilla-like proportions.

...

The problem, residents say, has been getting worse in the last several months as the arena for the Nets basketball team, the centerpiece of Atlantic Yards, has been rising. “We don’t have a normal rat problem,” said Karen-Ida Scott, 55, who lives on Dean Street, “we have a rat tsunami.”

...

No one from Forest City Ratner, the developer of the project, was there. On Friday, a spokesman for the developer, Joe DePlasco, issued a statement: “We have had a rodent control plan in place for over two years, beginning long before construction started. We are working very closely with Empire State Development and will continue to revisit the program to assess the impact. We will also continue to work with other parties, including the M.T.A., Department of Health and elected officials to address the issue.”

Fort Greene Patch, Blamed on Atlantic Yards construction, rodent sightings are on the rise, residents say.
By Amy Sara Clark

Stirred up by the digging at Atlantic Yards, rats have been a problem mostly for Prospect Heights residents, with the rodents eating through garbage cans and insulation in cars, boring through front doors and even climbing up one woman’s leg as she sat in her backyard, residents said at a meeting between area residents and city officials Thursday night.

“We don’t have a normal rat problem, we have a rat tsunami,” said one Prospect Heights woman. “I can look out in the middle of the day and see my trash cans outside my window overflowing with rats.”

Gothamist, Atlantic Yards Unleashes "Rat Tsunami" On Downtown Brooklyn

Russian billionaires and bleak buildings aren't the only things the Atlantic Yards project is bringing to Brooklyn: the construction is reportedly stirring up a large rat colony, some of which are "the size of cats." At a recent meeting to address the issue, two Downtown Brooklyn residents said that the rats got into their cars' engine blocks, "leaving behind chicken bones and aluminum foil, all the while chewing on the wires." One neighbor tells City Room, "We don't have a normal rat problem, we have a rat tsunami."

In addition to the normal displacement of rats that occur during such massive construction, the workers on the construction site have "increased the amount of garbage in the area," which in kind brings more rats. A rep for Forest City Ratner, the developer of the Atlantic Yards project, didn't show up to the rat meeting and told the paper that they "have had a rodent control plan in place for over two years," and that they're working on the problem. Maybe they can afford some easy-on-the-eyes Frank Gehry-designed rat traps?

Atlantic Yards Report, Forest City Ratner tries damage control on issue of rat infestation as Times and Patch follow up (updated)

Both Patch and the New York Times covered the meeting on rats last night (my coverage here). Both articles show Forest City Ratner scrambling to address an issue for which they likely have significant but hardly full responsibility.

Posted by steve at June 25, 2011 9:03 PM