Visitors to Cooper Square will be turned away at the door through the early parts of this month, as the city has temporarily shut down the tiny East Village green space in hopes of dealing with its massive rat problem. The park is set to be renovated in early December, according to the city’s Department of Design and Construction, and in preparation for that, the DDC is planting large amounts of rodenticide. The closure is to ensure the rats are hungry enough to eat poison; if people are let into the park, they may leave enough food and scraps for the rodents to subside on.
“The actual reconstruction of the park helps address the issue at the root,” DDC spokesman Craig Chin told DNAinfo. “With construction removing the burrows and subterranean rodent habitats that formed in the vaulted spaces underground.”
Why are the rats in Cooper Square so bad? The local Community Board says people are at least partly to blame. “There are people in Peter Cooper Park every day all day and have been observed to use the park as both a kitchen and bathroom,” read a CB3 resolution asking DDC to deal with the problem.