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Straphangers not surprised after subway rat bites rider


amny Photo Credit: Emily Ann Epstein

Straphangers at the J train subway station where a woman was bit on the foot by a rat last week said they were not surprised that it happened, considering the number of rodents, pigeons and trash they regularly spot there.

“The rats and pigeons are down here every day,” said Shanay Cottle, who was waiting for a J train at the Chambers Street/Brooklyn Bridge station.

amNewYork was the first to report that a rat bit an unidentified woman in her mid-20s on September 5th as she waited on that platform.

Cottle, who lives in Bed-Stuy and works at a Cosi eatery, pointed out a rat scurrying across the tracks below. At least this one was a few feet away, she noted.

“Once I was at Franklin Street (station) and a rat ran right across my feet,” said Cottle, 23. “I ran and jumped on top of the bench. … I was standing up on that bench until the train came, and then I ran onto the train.”

When told of the rat bite, Jorge Soto, of Williamsburg, said he was not surprised, calling the J station “one of the worst” when it comes to rodents.

Soto, 30, stomped his feet on the platform and said he just “sics ‘em away” if they get too close.

Brandon Mason, 27, of South Jamaica, said the MTA “can’t exterminate all the subways. They do the best they can.”

The MTA said it hires pest control contractors and its own exterminating team to bait tracks and areas where people don’t go. The agency “routinely cleans station platforms and track areas of debris that may attract rodents,” a spokeswoman said.

Nile Edwards, an insurance manager from St. Albans, said while subway riders might be afraid of rats, the rodents were likely more afraid of straphangers.

“I’ve seen one this morning on the J line from Queens,” Edwards, 42, told amNewYork last week. “He ran right past me. The rat was scampering to get away from all the people.”


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