HARLEM — Forget bedbugs and rats — a Harlem grandmother is trying to keep raccoons and squirrels out of her apartment.
After sidewalk sheds went up outside her home in the fall, Mary Rambert, 77, noticed different critters crawling right up to the kitchen window of her second floor apartment at the Martin Luther King Jr. Towers at 70 Lenox Ave.
On Tuesday evening, Rambert’s grandson caught a raccoon on video with his hand in a box of cupcakes that an upstairs neighbor had tossed onto the shed. Rambert, who is terrified of raccoons, refuses to watch the recording.
“God is good because He blessed me by not letting me see that raccoon out there in the window,” she said. “I probably would’ve … I don’t want to think about that.”
Rambert is so afraid of what might be out there that she has not opened the window in months and keeps the blinds down all day. Before the scaffolding went up over the winter, Rambert would spend hours looking out of the window.
“When we were kids she used to sit by that window and watch us play in the park across the street,” said her daughter Gail Williams. “Now her view is gone.”
A NYCHA spokeswoman said that the shed went up last fall and will come down by spring of 2016.
Raccoons and squirrels, which Rambert has seen climbing on her window screen, are drawn to the scaffolding by trash that neighbors toss out of their windows, Williams said.
On Wednesday evening there was half a watermelon on the shed, though Williams said the construction crew has been doing a better job of cleaning up the mess since she started complaining about it.
"If we didn’t complain I think the garbage would still be out there," she said.