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Rats Running Rampant at LIC Waterfront Park, Visitors Say

 Hunters Point South Park has struggled with rats in recent months, visitors said.
Hunters Point South Park has struggled with rats in recent months, visitors said.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

LONG ISLAND CITY — The city is working to clear Hunters Point South Park of rats, following complaints from park-goers who say they've spotted rodents scurrying through the waterfront green space.

Locals said they've noticed more of the unwelcome visitors in the park in recent months.

"Lots of rats," said Hunters Point resident Michael McDavid, who noted he's seen rodents running around the tall grass near the dog run and in the park's mesh trashcans. "This has been at least [for] the last four or five months."

Jennifer Kruse, who was walking her dogs in the park earlier this week, said she's twice spotted rats running around "in the middle of the day," including one sighting about a week ago.

"I was a little taken aback," she said, saying she worried one of her pups might try to chase them.

Residents have also complained online, with several commenters in a Facebook group for local dog owners recently saying they'd had rodent run-ins, including one woman who described a "giant rat" jumping out of a trash can after she went to throw something out.

"They are all over the place," another commenter said, while yet another complained that this is "the worst year yet" for sightings of the critters.

The Parks Department has been placing baiting stations in the park since July and has an exterminator regularly inspecting the area in an effort to keep it rat-free, according to a spokeswoman for the agency.

"We will continue to treat the park until the issue is resolved," spokeswoman Meghan Lalor said. "We are also working with the rodent experts at the Department of Health for guidance on any additional measures we can take."

She urged park visitors to properly dispose of their trash and to call 311 to report any rat sightings.

Rob Basch, head of advocacy group the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, said rats have most commonly been seen by the water on the south end of the park, near the ferry station.

"Part of it is it's the water, and it's New York City," he said. "We know it's a problem, and we're trying to rectify it. It's not only this park."

Several signs were posted recently throughout neighboring Gantry Plaza State Park — located just north of Hunters Point South Park — warning that the area had been treated with rat poison.

The state Parks Department, which oversees Gantry, did not immediately return messages seeking comment about the signs.