Rodent Sightings Surge Citywide; UWS Still Favorite Rat Retreat

  Last modified on December 10th, 2021

Rodent sightings are up 30% citywide since 2019 – ABC7 wrote on November 8 – and on the date of publication, the greatest number of Manhattan sightings (based on stats from the Department of Health) were taking place on the Upper West Side, in Morningside Heights and in Manhattanville.

Many attribute the increase in rodent sightings to factors including emptier streets since the onset of the pandemic, outdoor dining cafes, and a lack of responsiveness from the sanitation department.


Several neighborhoods – including the Upper East Side – saw the biggest year-over-year increases. But the Upper West Side still comes in with a higher total, at least so far this year.

From the beginning of 2021 through October, a total of 1,345 complaints were made to 311 within zip codes 10023, 10024, 10025 and 10069. During the same period last year (January through October, 2020), there were 1,118 complaints, with 1,255 during 2019 and 1,207 during 2018.

So while our numbers are pretty bad, the UWS is essentially used to this.

READ MORE: Remembering the Nightmare: the 74th Street Rat House

Here’s a breakdown of complaints made by month (through October):

  • January: 91
  • February: 62
  • March: 101
  • April: 132
  • May: 132
  • June: 166
  • July: 180
  • August: 166
  • September: 151
  • October: 164

And here’s a breakdown by zip code (also through October):

  • 10023: 162
  • 10024: 381
  • 10025: 797
  • 10069: 5

A November 8 write-up by the New York Times – which mentions the Upper West Side in its third paragraph – also notes that during the pandemic, “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.”

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