Rats! Here There Everywhere In Soho…Not Just Dominique Ansel Bakery

Dear NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH),

While I hate bringing any more attention to an already over-dramatized situation, I feel the need to write about Dominique Ansel’s current PR nightmare:  it being shut down due to mice.  This is not the fault of a locally owned small business, but a part of a larger problem in Soho, and the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) should take responsibility.

There are 5 large-scale construction projects in a 2 block radius of Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho.  These aren’t standard 25X100 wide lot projects; these are entire blocks of land being torn up that have been vacant land for years.  Land that has been the home to thousands of rats/mice.  These rats/mice have been kicked out of their homes and are currently trying to find a place to breed for spring-time.

When I first moved to Soho 3.5 years ago I never saw a single rat/mouse.  Several construction projects started in the past 8 months, and you can hear rat/mouse sighting screams on an almost nightly basis.  I have seen rats/mice in unexpected places, but mostly, I’ve found them outside of the Vesuvio Playground, a playground in the backyard of Dominique Ansel.  This playground is where children play during the day, and is part of the NYC Parks & Recreation Department.

If there is anyone to blame for a wide-spread rat/mouse problem, its the DOHMH.  They are responsible for ensuring that rat/mice problems are being controlled.  The DOHMH even has a Rat Information Portal (RIP) where you can view rat inspection data!  This portal shows in “RED” (meaning Active Rat Signs) several areas near the Dominique Ansel Bakery, including one of the very biggest offenders, the aforementioned NYC owned Vesuvio Playground.

While the construction sites of 10 Sullivan and 73-75 Sullivan have both been inspected (and are RED), the DOHMH hasn’t even inspected sites at One Vandam, God’s Love We Deliver, or 182 Spring Street.  A 40% inspection rate of construction projects is weak.

With all the data at their finger-tips, the DOHMH should have forecasted what the construction projects mixed with Spring mating season would do to Soho.  They should have pro-actively warned local businesses and residences and they should be exterminating their own park which is a breeding ground for more rats/mice.  Instead, they waited around until a hard-working business could be used as a scapegoat.

I am ashamed that the DOHMH hasn’t done a better job at keeping the current situation at Dominique Ansel a private matter; every establishment serving food or having food (aka apartment buildings) in Soho is probably just as much of an accidental violator.

While it is the responsibility of business owners for “continual eradication measures” it is the responsibility of the NYC Department of Health & Sanitation to handle wide-spread rat/mouse problems due to the construction of nearby lots and changing of the seasons.

DOHMH, please accept the responsibility.

Soho Resident Danielle