New York City is launching the latest salvo in its never-ending war on rats.
City officials are ramping up efforts to teach regular New Yorkers how to make their streets, businesses and gardens less hospitable to rodents — in other words, to see their neighborhood the way a health inspector would.
When Caroline Bragdon, a rat expert with the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, walks through the East Village, she’s not looking at the people or the storefronts. Her eyes point down, at the place where the sidewalk meets the buildings and the street. “If you look really carefully, you can even see their hairs,” Bragdon says, pointing to a little hole in the sidewalk next to a sewer grate. “When we see something like this, what we say to each other is, ‘This catch basin is hot.’ You know, 'This is ratty.’ ”