This is the New York City “Asbestos Rat.” Ah, don’t mess with us here. Don’t even think about it, or we will get creative on how we’ll handle you.
Here is a photo of one of the esteemed members of New York City’s “Rat Pack,” which is rather different from the one including Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford that once enchanted Las Vegas. Our “Rat Pack” consists of a collection of twelve-foot-tall inflatable rat balloons. A New York City building union owns them; other unions sometimes borrow them whenever the fine need to make a visual statement arises. This one was in front of an edifice on Madison Avenue between 57th and 58th Street for the past two weeks and counting. ”Asbestos Kills,” we are reminded by his sign. He’s holding money bags. He’s in front of a building whose owners do not, well, give a rat’s ass about its employees and construction workers – and therefore allows their exposure to the toxic substance.
Landlords shudder at the thought of having one of the twelve-foot rats blown up in front of their properties. Some have even been known to cave in and quickly negotiate with union members to try to keep the threat of a rat away from their doors. Aha, of course they do! The presence of a twelve-foot inflated rat reveals the true content of those landlords’ characters in as vivid, not to mention (oh, I can’t resist saying it) as overblown a way as possible.
That’s why I like the union members’ spirit and applaud their use of rat balloons. It’s a way of declaring a war against indecency – without ever having to fire a shot. I give the union gang a thumbs up every time I see them out there on a street with a rat. Go, Rat Pack! I love New York!