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New York is fighting rats in the streets

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

To New York City now, where Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch made a big announcement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JESSICA TISCH: We are about to do something that no one has had the political will or political capital to pull off over the past 50 years. The rats are absolutely going to hate this announcement, but the rats don't run the city. We do.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

That's right. Starting April 1, 2023, New Yorkers will only be able to put their trash outside after 8 p.m. instead of after 4 p.m. Tisch explained this is part of a move to try to curb the city's infamous rat problem.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TISCH: The biggest swing that you can take in cleaning up our streets is to shut down the all-night, all-you-can-eat rat buffet.

PFEIFFER: Mayor Eric Adams joined Tisch in the announcement with some of his own anti-rat views.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ERIC ADAMS: Everyone that knows me, they know one thing. I hate rats. When we started killing them in Borough Hall, you know, some of the same folks are criticizing us now and called me a murderer because I was killing rats. Well, you know what? We're going to kill rats.

CHANG: And council member Shaun Abreu had more choice words about the city's rodents.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SHAUN ABREU: We are taking the fight to the rats. This is not "Ratatouille." Rats are not our friends.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "RATATOUILLE")

PATTON OSWALT: (As Remy) Maybe I'm a different kind of rat.

BRIAN DENNEHY: (As Django) Maybe you're not a rat at all.

OSWALT: (As Remy) Maybe that's a good thing.

PETER SOHN: (As Emile) Hey.

CHANG: (Laughter).

PFEIFFER: So sorry, Remy. It looks like you and your friends are going to have a slightly harder time finding garbage to eat from now on.

CHANG: But whether that'll make a noticeable dent in New York City's rat population remains to be seen. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Megan Lim
Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who hosts All Things Considered along with Ari Shapiro, Audie Cornish, and Mary Louise Kelly. She landed in public radio after practicing law for a few years.
Sacha Pfeiffer is a correspondent for NPR's Investigations team and an occasional guest host for some of NPR's national shows.