The Empire State Building. The Statue of Liberty. Central Park. Times Square. A horde of rats sprinting between an underground nest and a restaurant, squeaking and squealing as a group of tourists cheer them on.
New York has never lacked for attractions, but that last one on the list is one of its most unexpected.
As the city grapples with a major rat problem – sightings doubled last year, prompting the mayor to advertise for a “somewhat bloodthirsty” head rat-catcher in December – the rodent issue is, according to some, New York’s latest must-experience trend. As visitors to New York demand rat action, some of the city’s tour guides have started to add stops at notoriously infested sites, the New York Post reported this week.
It means that rat tourism is fast becoming a boom industry. Kenny Bollwerk, who built a TikTok following by posting videos from around New York, stumbled upon being a rodent guide when he spent “an hour or two” live-streaming rats running around outside a building site in Sunnyside, Queens.