Mount Vernon, NY — Just one block away from Hamilton Elementary School and near Mount Vernon Fire Station 4 on Oak Street, there is a major Rat Infestation. What’s worst is residents and business owners in the area have been living with this and complaining to City Hall for over a year. When they felt they had nowhere to turn, they called Black Westchester to come down and shed some light on the situation.
Black Westchester received several calls and emails requesting we come and do a story. I will admit, at first it sounded like a gross exaggeration, but Wednesday night, instead of going to the Mount Vernon City Council meeting, escorted by a few firefighters carrying big bright flashlights we went to see for ourselves what all the fuss was about. What we saw shocked, startled and disgusted us, several dozens rats, ranging from the size just larger than a regular size mouse to the size of a large possum or a cat.
Mount Vernon may be home to some raccoons, possums, skunks and squirrels but these rats have down right taken over the area and you do not see any other animals not even the occasional stray cat or dog roaming up and down North Bond Street
We were shown by residents an alley on the side of 21 North Bond Street, it became clear that’s where the Rat’s Nest was. Before I go any further seeing is believing. Below is a graphic video recorded Wednesday night (the night before garbage day on the Southside) in the alley next to the North Bond Street apartment building. Warning graphic language used in video by those present.
According to Orkin, one of the leaders in the pest control services industry; Rats are responsible for the transmission of many diseases. Their feeding habits are destructive, and their nesting behaviors can compromise the structure of infested buildings. However, rats are secretive and not seen by humans when populations are low. Therefore, an infestation may prove difficult to confirm.
The most obvious sign of a rat infestation is the presence of dead or living rats. Rats prefer to hide, given enough space, so if rats are observed in plain sight, it is likely that a full-blown infestation already exists. When space becomes limited due to increased population, rats are forced out into the open. Rat droppings may be present, indicating a healthy, feeding rat population. Rats also tend to leave dirt or grease marks along walls and floorboards.
Rats gnaw incessantly on materials such as plastic and wood. The presence of damaged materials and large holes in floorboards and walls are sure signs of infestation. Rat teeth marks are large and rough in appearance.
We went back Thursday afternoon in the daytime and while we didn’t see nearly as many as we did Wednesday night, we saw obvious signs of their existence, like the many holes the rats had burrowed through the dirt and concrete. Thursday we could see it wasn’t just isolated to the alley next to 21 North Bond or the lot on the other side of the alley, but all the way down to Oak street including the side and back on the little strip mall on the corner consisting of a deli named Deli King. We saw rats down the side of Oak Street across from Fire Station 4 and a few on Bleeker, Street, the next street over, across the street from Hamilton Elementary School.
While we were recording several residents came up to us to let us know where the rats are most visible. One 30 something year old male told us, parents are scared to let their children play outside. Several other residents including a local business owner told us, they have made several complaints to City Hall and no one from the city has ever come through to even see about the problem much less do anything about it. The residents were excited to see BW out there with the flashlights and cameras, hoping finally something will be done.
I immediately texted Mayor Richard Thomas to inform him of the situation late Wednesday night, asking him who do I need to contact about a major rat infestation on North Bond Street. He responded ‘perhaps I should reach out to Maria.’ I was a little confused by his response since Maria Donovan is the First Corporation Council and fills in for the Mayor as his Press Secretary. What confused me was, I wanted to know who I needed to direct my inquiry to about getting this area cleaned up not looking for a quote from the administration.
I responded back letting him know I wanted to give the administration an opportunity to get ahead of this and not be blindsided by it when my story comes out because I was about to make a lot of noise for the community who has to live with this and he responded, “Email Maria. I am putting my son to sleep.” I was disturbed by his answer but we will deal with that later, back to the matter at hand. More importantly, I couldn’t help to be concerned about the residents of 21 North Bond Street, who have to protect their children from the rats that are overtaking their block. I’m just hoping and praying the rats stay outside and do not make their way into those children’s rooms while they are sleeping at night.
One of our researchers pulled up the information on the owners of the 21 Bond Street Apartment house with 5 plus units as the 21-23 N Bond Assoc LLC, whose mailing address is White Plains, NY 10605. One City Hall insider told BW that this is a job for DPW. BW will be looking into this and following this until something is done. We will be back in touch with the Thomas Administration, DPW Commissioner Ralph Uzzi, The Health Department, The 21-23 N Bond Assoc LLC and The Mount Vernon City School District, because a rat infestation of this size is going to take the cooperation from several agencies working with the city to clean up. We will be questioning the liability of any of the owners of the North Bond Street Apartment House, where the main nesting area appears to be.
If you live in this immediate area and would like to talk on the record about the infestation, email us at BlackWestchester@gmail.com or call us at (914) 979-2093. Westchester is one of the richest Counties in the country and people need to know stuff like this can happen here as well. You may be saying its not your problem, but rats have a nasty habit of spreading out farther and farther and this could be the block you live, work or your children go to school next! People should not have to live like this!