In Hoboken they’ve become known as “parklets.” Open-air wooden structures that sit in outdoor parking areas and are used for dining. They’ve been around since 2020 and were no doubt in response to the pandemic closure of indoor restaurants.

Councilwoman Jen Giattino says they shouldn’t have any new ones. She’s announced an effort to ban any future “parklets” in the city.

Because of rats. They are thriving. The city is crawling with them. Giattino says they’re now taking up residence inside these structures.

Clouse up the rat in dry leaf background. Animal contagious disease concept.

They’re burrowing in and living inside the wood. Yikes! How would you like to be dining on one of these structures and have that squealing surprise pop out at your feet?

The city recently passed an ordinance for the already existing parklets. It established a six-step procedure restaurants must follow, including power washing and regular exterminations.

What they call streeteries are different. That’s where restaurants are using the actual pavement to set the chairs and tables on. Or sometimes set up on a single removable mat. So those are fine as rats aren’t eating their way inside them. But these wooden structures are proving problematic.

Plague of rats trying to escape
Mario De Moya F

Giattino says the ones that already exist can remain but wants to ban any new ones from popping up. It turns out Hoboken’s rat infestation is one of the most hotly debated topics this election season.

Between this and the other news story this week about a rat infestation at AMC theaters at Newport Centre Mall, Hudson County has me a little itchy.

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