Over the years, a series of rodent heroines—each of them uniquely embodying the spirit of New York City—have emerged from the underground to viral acclaim. Pizza Rat famously scurried into our hearts when he not only performed the feat of dragging the slice, but also folded it up and ate it properly. And it'll be ten years this October since a tipster sent us a photo of Sad Rat, a rat unsuccessfully attempting to emerge from the sidewalk.
This week, a new furry friend joined the lineage of celebrity rats: Henny Rat. Yesterday, a photo began making the rounds on Twitter, which depicted the weary-looking rat, very much dead, clinging to a small bottle of Hennessy. "Just another day in New York City," tweeted Chris Williamson, who took the photo and posted it online yesterday. Williamson, a sports anchor at SNY, tells Gothamist he found the boozy rat clutching the Henny on the corner of Monroe Street and Ralph Avenue, in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
Immediately, people began speculating as to what could have done this poor rat in. Was it the Knicks' 18th straight loss? Did Stuart Little or Remy (from Ratatouille)'s lives take dark turns? Or was it fellow rat drama down on the subway tracks?
Williamson isn't the only person to document Henny Rat's demise online. On Wednesday, Nicolas Heller, a filmmaker, posted an earlier photo of the rat on his Instagram. In his shot, the bottle of Hennessy was resting near the rat, instead of next to him—not to mention that my guy was also flanked by a pack of Newports.
"I staged the photo," he tells Gothamist. Heller was on his way to the train when he noticed the dead rat on the corner of Ralph and Monroe, as well as the pack of cigs and cognac. "I’m not proud of it but I did pick up the Hennessy bottle and place it next to the rat, because I knew that it would be better than just having the pack of Newports that I kicked over there," he says, adding that the bottle and the cigs were "within 10 to 15 steps" of the dead rat.
Heller says that he often sees dead rats on Monroe and Ralph, and that perhaps there's a lot of rat poisoning on that particular corner. Back in December, he found one of the deceased rodents near half-eaten pizza. He kicked the pizza remnants near the rat, and snapped a photo. "I guess now it could be an ongoing series," he laughs. "I’m not going to like, go out of my way to stage stuff like that but...the opportunity kind of presented itself."
Your move, Zardulu.