Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mmmmmm.... Let's Eat!

The parkway on Ainslie, just west of Winthrop, continues to be a rat's fantasy buffet.

Just about a year ago, UU ran photos of this same parkway, which was full of everything from "rice, to fried rice noodles, rolls and even a blob of mashed potatoes..."

But that's nothing compared to what it's like now.  A reader took these photos and says, "Usually I just walk past this area and shake my head.  However today, I was just amazed at how this block looks. Check it out.  That's bread, rice, rice noodles, whatever else. I've seen multiple people putting things down there."

A couple members of Team UU went over to try to get it off the ground, but it was too encrusted in ice to be cleaned up.

Spring is coming, and one of the less than desirable aspects of the warmer weather is that rodents come out of their nests, and they're hungry.  This parkway is the equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet for rats and mice.  Think of it as the mothership for every rodent in Uptown.

Because it will be.

Last time we ran this, a reader said in the comments:  "I learned one day that the Cambodians who live on that block have a cultural tradition of not wasting food. They have a practice of leaving the food out for other living things to consume rather than throwing it in the trash.  I am not condoning these actions. I still do believe it's a public health issue. But I have a better understanding why they do this like clock work.  And perhaps they don't know impact on the neighborhood and the city laws."

We don't know who's leaving the food, but it really needs to stop.  If you see food on the the parkway, please get an approximate address (1103 West Ainslie might do nicely) and call it in to 311 as a sanitation request.  When the weather gets a little warmer, call in a request for the city to bait for rats.

We strongly urge the block club, a community group, the residents at 4848 Winthrop, or individuals in the area to "adopt a parkway" and either have a regular cleaning schedule or make it a garden for plants and flowers.

If it does turn out to be a cultural tradition of the people who live on the block, we'd love to see one of the Asian service groups get involved and explain the ramifications of having an entire urban parkway covered in leftovers.

Because this, right now, is a disaster in the making.  And it's not even spring yet.

Update:  A reader pointed us to Ald. Cappleman's Twitter account, in which he refers to the problem on March 10:  "Spoke to bldg management this afternoon and will get security catching person in act. Have cameras pointed toward house where occurs ... Someone thinks they're feeding birds, but they're feeding rats. Reports of rats now getting in hoods of cars and chewing wires."


  1. SOMETHING should be done and quickly, as Chicago rats are so bold they will walk along side you and try to start conversations with you. Coming out for a bite to eat at just about any time of the day doesn't faze them one bit...

  2. Someone is doing the same thing on Sheridan (East side of the street) between Buena and Montrose. It's terrible

  3. I live RIGHT by there. I've seen and caught this one old Asian lady who lives in 4848 N Winthrop building tossing that crap right at the same area in the past. It is disgusting.

  4. In Los Angeles, people are fined or ticketed for littering. I wonder if this applies to Chicago as well but just isn't enforced at all.

  5. fearless, in Chicago there is an ordinance against littering but it rarely if ever gets enforced. Just like the loud music ordinance they use to have for cars. They rarely impound cars anymore for the offense. The only "speed traps" in the entire city are probably on LSD and the Skyway.

  6. Our building had the same problem with our neighbors across the street, who are mostly newly arrived immigrants unfamiliar with urban living. They threw their leftovers into the alley, which attracted rats and mice. The alderman's office and our block club worked with the building's owner, and eventually the free buffet stopped. However, it looks like the rats are here to stay, because we're constantly fighting off their attempts to get into our building and asking the City to drop poison.

  7. Just now,right outside the African restaurant on Leland and Kenmore, I see many pieces of fried chicken lying in the grass. Sigh...

  8. This happens regularly at the corner of Carmen and Sheridan. A few times a week, I pass newly dumped food at the base of a tree. The food varies - rice, bread, flour, cereal, cake mix or beans. And somedays, it's just straight birdseed. While I haven't seen rats yet, I do see flocks of pigeons, which in my opinion are just as bad.