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Friday, June 09, 2006

New York Subterranean Subway Fauna

While waiting for the # 2 train recently we observed a rat scurrying along the train well looking for food. It was raining that day so there was plenty of water in the well. Although the scene was very peaceful, with a Chinese man playing an erhu (right) in the background, the question we are faced with is: Are rats good or bad in the New York subway system (Washington, DC Metro does not have this problem)?

Clearly they eliminate the food thrown away by daily riders. This probably keeps the airborne bacteria levels in check. Humans are not in direct contact with the rodents in the well, except for maintenance workers, but unlike DC's subway, the Big Apple operates around the clock. So are rats a nuisance and a threat or a backup clean up crew assisting with daily disposal? You decide. Regardless, there was something mystical about the rat and the erhu at this moment in time on this particular evening.

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