While Californians have been stressing over the drought and lack of water, back in New York City the opposite scenario has been playing out with people here praying for a reprieve from the seemingly never
ending barrage of extreme weather - with one snow storm after another hitting the area. In fact so extreme and severe has this weather been that for the first time in 36 years the normal alternate-side parking street parking rules (very rigid in NYC whereby you have to move your car parked on street several times a week for street cleaning) have all been suspended for a total 19 day stretch (as of today), making it the longest New York City five borough wide snow and freezing temperature weather-related suspension of parking rules since 1978. The good news though is that the weather is about to get better (temperature wise) here in NYC with temps expected in the lower 50's by Friday - however rain is expected to hit NYC for the next few days.
Another thing that distinguishes New York from most other US cities is its large out of control rodent population with thet age old estimate being that there are four rats to every person in New York City - meaning approximately 32 million rats dwell throughout New York. Hence it is not surprising to see them scurrying anywhere in NYC - not just in subways and parks - but near (or inside) eateries too sometimes. Hence many here in the Big Apple were happy to learn about, via the Gothamist site this week, about the rat map of New York that was created by New Yorker Steven Melendez who, based on data from Health Dept. restaurant inspections, drew up his map of what places to avoid - provided you do not wish to visit restaurants that have received fines/citations for "evidence of rats or live rats" or even mice. Based on citations from 2013 his map is broken in to zip codes for places with citations and gradings by the NYC Health Dept. Note that a restaurant that was cited for mice and/or rats in its most recent graded inspection will have a C grade. His unsettling but informative rat map shows that some areas, such as the NY 10128 zip code on the Upper East Side where huge construction is underway for the 2nd Avenue Subway, have a serious rodent restaurant problem. The Queens Village/Bellaire area of Queens also has a lot of rodents with a shocking 61% of its eateries having being cited for rat or mice infestation. Yikes! NYC Rat Map left with the darker shades indicating zip codes with higher density of eatery rodent citations.