Reese Perez, 60, who operates a food cart near the park, which is across from The Plaza hotel, said the rats "look like rabbits" and he blames the feed left behind by horse-drawn carriages for drawing the rodents to the area, the New York Daily News reported Monday.
However, hansom cab driver Adrian Livingston, 40, blamed trash left by tourists for the rat problem. He said the number of rats in and around the park has increased sharply in recent months.
"I'm sure people are spooked by them. I know I am," Livingston said. "Compared to last year, it's off the scales."
However, Philip Abramson, a spokesman for the city Parks Department, said the city has not noted any sharp increases in the rat population.
"Neither Parks nor the Central Park Conservancy has received any complaints or seen an increase in rat activity at Grand Army Plaza," Abramson said. "But we are maintaining and monitoring the area on a regular basis."