Admit it- when you have a group of family or friends in town for a visit, what’s the quintessential “New York thing” that fascinates them most? Right- the sight of a rat on the subway tracks! It seems like the ubiquitous vermin arrived in Manhattan two minutes after the Dutch declared New Amsterdam open for business.
Well, one man has started a TikTok channel based on videos he films of rats scurrying about the Big Apple, and even conducts free tours of the sites they can be found. Kenny Bollwerk started the service to highlight the problem so city officials can do something to curtail the exploding rat population. He appeared on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to explain how the TikTok trend got started.
“I started going to these spots and filming them and using that video to submit an attachment for a 311 complaint,” Bollwerk told Berman and Riedel. “So, you saw a lot of it during Covid because of the dining structures. Some of these dining structures that we were accustomed to eating at during covid which were nice actually attracted a lot of the vermin and all the rats coming up from the subway.”
Bollwerk, who moved to New York in 2019, tried to describe the fascination people have with the creepy critters. “I think they’re fascinated because it’s so unpredictable. They’re on the streets of New York; it’s kind of like going hiking in the woods and you don’t know what you’re going to see… People can’t believe when the rats run across people’s feet and people can’t believe the amount of rats they’re seeing in one little setting… they want to come here and see it for themselves.”
And people, Bollwerk says, are coming, even long after the city cleans up a rat-infested site. “I have pictures of people from season one, is what we’re calling it; it’s called Rat City, season one. It’s kind of broken up into different chapters of different spots that are infested. There’s no more rats at season one, but people still want to go there because that was what kinda really got this all started in January of 2023.”
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