You Know What The Problem Is, Brucie? Rats Used To Mean Things In This Country . . . Now We Just Take Pictures Of The Rat For Our Scrapbooks
Time was, you’d inflate the rat and people would notice, they got disturbed. Now, things are different, and in ways I just don’t understand:
More than just a symbol of labor grievance, the giant inflatable sidewalk protest rat has apparently also become a symbol of New York City for out-of-town visitors. By and large, it is safe to assume, there’s nothing quite like it back home.
Take this cigar-chomping, money-bag-clutching behemoth, stationed last week in front of the Lincoln Building, across East 42nd Street from Grand Central Terminal.
His handlers — Laborers’ Local 78, on this particular day — intended to convey the message that only responsible contractors ought to be permitted to perform the hazardous work of asbestos removal.
That message, however, seemed entirely incidental to the groups posing for snapshots in front of the rat every couple of minutes. Radek Korek, one of the Local 78 members on the scene, said the creature seemed popular with foreign visitors, especially those from China, where the Year of the Rat is being observed.
See also: Union Rat.Posted: September 8th, 2008 | Filed under: New York, New York, It's A Wonderful Town!