New York Daily Photo Analytics

Friday, May 08, 2009


"Oh, have I got your attention now? Good." This line, spoken by Alec Baldwin in his famous sizzling speech in the award winning film Glengarry Glen Ross, would be appropriate for our friend in the photo, could he only speak. But, having a large inflated rat sitting in front of your business or building will certainly get your and the public's attention, so no worry that this rat is mute.
These rats have been seen on New York City streets since 1997 - Local 79 of the Construction and General Building Laborers claims to have been the first to introduce the rat to New York City in 1997. They are not unique to the city, but we are the largest consumers and users of the rat invented by Big Sky Balloons and Searchlights of Plainfield, Illinois. At any given time a number of the union rats are deployed around town to deliver a message about employers whose business practices have bestowed the honor of induction into the family of rats.
In 1990, Don Newton, an organizer for a Chicago bricklayers union went to Big Sky looking for a more effective way to to get the attention of nonunion employers. Owner Mike O'Connor proposed the idea of creating a large inflatable rat and "Scabby the Rat" was born. Big Sky has since produced hundreds of rats used throughout the country along with hundreds of other inflatables, many for  "Greedy Pig,” "Corporate Fat Cat," skunks, bulldogs and cockroaches.
Some victims have retaliated - a larger cat looming over a rat by Radio City in 2005 or the anti-union dinosaur which was placed in front of the AFL-CIO’s headquarters in Washington, D.C in 2006 by the Center for Union Facts to symbolize their belief that unions were outmoded and would become extinct.
The numerous articles regarding these rats show the price range escalating - now ranging to nearly $10,000 for the biggest rat. I suppose everything is subject to inflation :)

Film Note: Glengarry Glen Ross. Highly recommended drama, screenplay adaptation from a play of the same name by David Mamet. It will forever change your view of sales. Warning - strong language. 


Jim Marian said...

You can see a photo of the Union Facts dinosaur at:

naomid said...

What's going on with that rat's belly. Creeps me out...

Thérèse said...

Needs an artistic make over!