April 2, 2012
By Ray Parker, Staff Writer
A lucky straphanger returning from a late-night concert at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on North 6th Street snapped the winning photo in Local 100’s “most distinctive subway rat” contest, the union announced today. Michael Savarino just happened to be at the right place at the right time (Bedford Avenue stop on the L train, 2 AM) to see two rats cavorting in a 50 cent bag of potato chips. Click!As the winner of the union’s latest contest on www.ratfreesubways.com, Savarino picked up a $500 gift certificate from the camera store Abe’s of Maine, as well as a monthly unlimited MetroCard. Both items were presented to him by TWU Local 100 Vice President for Stations Maurice Jenkins outside the entrance to the Bedford Avenue station. Savarino, 29, is a computer programmer who lives in Staten Island and works at Cabrini Hospital in Manhattan.
The “most distinctive rat” contest was conceived by Local 100 as a way to put pressure on the MTA to increase refuse pickups and hire more cleaners to deal with the escalating rat problem in the subways. As a result of the campaign, New York City Transit announced the staffing of two additional work trains (19 new hires) to put more resources into system cleanliness. MTA CEO Joe Lhota was also grilled on measures to combat rodents at his confirmation hearing in Albany, shortly after the union’s rat campaign started.