New York: Are rats the new tourist attraction?

When visiting NYC, be sure to check out the view from the top of the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock observation deck, then cross the mouth of the Hudson to get an up-close look at the Statue of Liberty... before taking a tour of the city's rat-infested neighbourhoods

Published: Sep 16, 2023 09:00:00 AM IST
Updated: Sep 15, 2023 06:53:05 PM IST

New York: Are rats the new tourist attraction?Rats are New York's latest tourist attraction. Image: Shutterstock

Visitors to New York are no longer just marvelling at the city's many skyscrapers or the Statue of Liberty. And no longer do they have to look up to catch a glimpse of this latest tourist attraction—it's right at their feet—as tourists line up to tour NYC's most rat-infested neighbourhoods!

When visiting NYC, be sure to check out the view from the top of the Empire State Building, or the Top of the Rock observation deck, then cross the mouth of the Hudson to get an up-close look at the Statue of Liberty... before taking a tour of the city's rat-infested neighbourhoods. In New York, a surprising new attraction is proving all the rage, and it has nothing to do with the many gigantic buildings that visitors are always keen to photograph. While raccoons were once the Big Apple's star four-legged attraction, rats have now stolen the spotlight, reports the New York Post.

The density of the rat population in New York is such that guided tours are now being organized to take visitors to check out the action in the most infested areas. This kind of "excursion" takes place at night, of course, when the rats are out in force. The routes often head to the Rockefeller Center or Columbus Park neighbourhoods. But tours can span as far as Queens, stopping off in Sunnyside or Flushing. TikToker Kenny Bollwerk, known as @nyc_kb, offers free walking tours and posts videos of his various outings. The influencer, whose posts get several tens of thousands of views, put out a call as recently as a week ago to anyone curious enough to want to see New York's rat infestation with their own eyes. Rat-curious individuals not currently in the Big Apple still have the opportunity to see the rodents for themselves thanks to the TikToker's videos, which he makes during his tours.

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Of course, the presence of rats in the Big Apple is nothing new, but with the pandemic and lockdowns, their population has grown to take over the city once again. It's not so much the absence of New Yorkers in the streets that stimulated their resurgence, but rather the success of home delivery services and the mountains of trash this generated at building entrances. According to the US Department of Health, rat activity in the city increased by 102% between 2021 and 2022, with over 60,000 reports of rat activity last year, the New York Post reports. New York City Hall has taken the lead on the matter, introducing new rules last year to make garbage cans more secure and restrict the times at which they can be taken out.

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