Who loves 'spicy garbage' more: you or the rats?

Rats enjoy spicy garbage, avoid Midtown and love sneaking into spots: just like us!

Who loves 'spicy garbage' more: you or the rats?
A man asks for a little rat kiss in Times Square. (Via Timothy Krause/Flickr)

A few years ago, for a commute from hell, I had to walk seven blocks through Bushwick before the sun rose — prime rat time. Sometimes I’d witness what I had thought was only an urban legend: sanitation workers using broomsticks to beat the mounds of garbage bags, scattering families of rats having a very early breakfast. 

Rats have been a hot topic lately, and for good reason. Eating rats may have killed Flaco the owl, the Rat Czar just celebrated one year on the job, and, two weeks ago the City Council proposed using birth control to mitigate the rat population. Just this week, a rat was spotted at Balthazar (possibly as a tactic of war in a kind of random beef that involves Jeff Bezos?). 

Those scattering rats on that Bushwick morning creeped me out so much that I got obsessed with them, and — in the process — realized how much we have in common. Like New Yorkers, they’re cosmopolitan, social, scrappy and have uptown and downtown preferences. Rats: they’re just like us!