Monday, November 28, 2005

New Yuck City

Just Try to Sleep Tight. The Bedbugs Are Back.
But bedbugs on Park Avenue? Ask the horrified matron who recently found her duplex teeming with the blood-sucking beasts. Or the tenants of a co-op on Riverside Drive who spent $200,000 earlier this month to purge their building of the pesky little thugs. The Helmsley Park Lane was sued two years ago by a welt-covered guest who blamed the hotel for harboring the critters. The suit was quietly settled last year.

And bedbugs, stealthy and fast-moving nocturnal creatures that were all but eradicated by DDT after World War II, have recently been found in hospital maternity wards, private schools and even a plastic surgeon's waiting room.

Bedbugs are back and spreading through New York City like a swarm of locusts on a lush field of wheat.

Last year the city logged 377 bedbug violations, up from just 2 in 2002 and 16 in 2003. Since July, there have been 449. "It's definitely a fast-emerging problem," said Carol Abrams, spokeswoman for the city housing agency.

And that new mattress delivered from a reputable department store, which kindly hauled away your old one? It may have spent all day in a truck wedged against an old mattress collected from a customer with a bedbug problem.

"My life has become all about bedbugs," she said as an exterminator arrived last week.

She said that to calm her friends and to ensure that she does not spread the bugs, she takes an extra set of clothing and changes when she arrives at their homes for overnight visits. "The psychological damage is probably the worst thing about it. I mean, how long will it be before I can sleep soundly and not worry about some creature sucking my blood?"

Still, for Ms. Scanlan, there has been a silver lining. The night after she discovered the bugs, she went out drinking, intent on avoiding her own bed. That evening she met a man at a bar, and, contrary to her usual instincts, accompanied him to his apartment. An encounter partly born of desperation soon blossomed into something more, she said.

"We've been together ever since," Ms. Scanlan said with a smile. "Thanks to the bedbugs, I've fallen in love."

1 comment:

janinsanfran said...

In the 70s, everywhere in NYC (that I slept) had bedbugs. Does this mean Giuliani somehow got rid of them and Bloomberg brought 'em back?