Wednesday, February 28, 2007


This is not the only place they should be looking:
NEW YORK -- Rats have been found in another New York City restaurant.

Video shot by NewsChannel 4 on Tuesday night showed at least two rats in the kitchen of Midtown's Au Bon Pain cafe.

The Boston-based bakery/cafĂ©, located at 600 3rd Ave (40th Street), was last inspected on Aug. 16 and was cited for only 13 points, well below the 28 points necessary to fail the inspection. It was initially cited for "evidence of flying insects or live flying insects present" and "cold food held above 41°F (smoked fish above 38°F) except during necessary preparation."
As noted, this is the second restaurant in a week to have rats openly filmed scurrying around.

The other, a Taco Bell down in Greenwich Village, was closed after a horde of rats started putting on a vaudeville show after hours, visible from the street:(note to James Whittingham: I think you take your job too seriously)

The responsibility for restaurant inspection falls to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which has in the past had its own issues with restaurant inspections, as inspectors would openly take bribes from restaurants to look the other way. As these things go, it started small: a refrigerator that wasn't quite working right was overelooked, a few hairnets missing, maybe a fly in the kitchen. And once everyone realized how profitable it coule be...
Twenty-eight current and former New York City health inspectors and supervisors were charged yesterday with extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from restaurants by threatening to close them or cite them for sanitation violations.
One suspects the same thing may be happening all over again, but in a lesser vein.

Still, perhaps the DoHMH should stick to its last. I have it on good authority that many of the community health centers, set up by the city to serve its poorest neighborhoods, have rat infestations of their own, most notably the Bushwick Center on Central Avenue in Brooklyn, and the Corona Health Center on Junction Boulevard in Queens.

No wonder they're letting restaurants keep pets...the inspectors probably think rats are part of the framing for the building!