Photo: The Ugliest Rat

Thursday, February 09, 2012 - 06:00 AM

Rat in New York City (photo by Michael Spivack)

There is a winner in the Transport Workers Union's “Ugliest Rat” photo competition.  Native New Yorker Michael Spivack clicked the prize picture at New York City’s 7th Avenue station on53rd Street.

Transport Workers Union Local 100 launched the contest last September in an effort to pressure the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to hire more clean up workers.

But curator Robert Voss with the American Museum of Natural History said rats will be with us forever, and are not as dangerous as once thought.  “They don't carry serious diseases, unlike the black rat, which used to occur in New York City but no longer does.  So, there's not a huge health issue,” said Voss.  Today’s subway rats are the same species as pet rats.  “People don’t like rats largely because of prejudice,” Voss added.  But he said rats could chew through electrical wiring and cause problems.

Contest winner Michael Spivack will receive a monthly MetroCard as a prize.  It will be presented near the very subway platform where he snapped the rat shot.

The union’s prize is well timed:  it’s in the middle of contract talks with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

To see more photos and videos of rats in the subway, go here.


Comments [10]

Frances Takacs

Whoever decided this was a fun contest is really a sick "human". This is horrible! I say that as 11 rats behind me squabble for breakfast, then lick my fingers as I love them. These are very loving and social cratures. They may not be as fluffy as a long haired puppy or kitten, but they show love. I have cats and dogs also, my rats are the most loyal and loving.

Feb. 10 2012 08:37 AM

Poor thing looks injured. I'm with Emma.

Feb. 09 2012 11:32 PM

Neal, you are ignorant! Rats are very clean, probably cleaner than you. I own three wonderful rats who I prefer to be around over some people. You really should educate yourself before passing judgement and being an @ss. I fail to see how caring for the welfare of a living thing makes you a "hippie". Please go crawl back in your cave where you belong.

Feb. 09 2012 08:11 PM

the poor animal animal must be in agony. what the hell is wrong with people.
micheal spivack you are a monster.

Feb. 09 2012 08:06 PM

you know something, Neal Thomas Iskenderian, My compassion for all living creatures is not just limited to Humans, that animal deserves just as much compassion and help as any other creature and the fact that some Mindless Prick gets a prize of some free tickets from another mindless prick,for showing that poor animals pain and suffering and yet another Mindless prick makes a comment about tree hugging Hippies! Well Neal Thomas Iskenderian I hope that when your day of suffering comes around theirs someone their taking pictures of you!

Feb. 09 2012 08:04 PM
Chantal Banks

Winner???? There is no winner here. Only a looser with a camera. My heart is absolutly crushed and I am sickened with utter disgust that people can win a prize over an animal that is obviously ill. A winner would have made sure this rat received proper care. I love rats with all my heart. If you are a dog lover, then you'd love a rat. Rats are forced to live in the worst conditions because of US! Otherwise, they are the cleanest animals on Earth!!! My heart aches deeply right now....

Feb. 09 2012 07:46 PM
Neal Thomas Iskenderian

You have got to be kidding me. It is a filthy rat you stupid hippies. Can't you just go back to hugging a freakin' tree, moon unit?

Feb. 09 2012 11:44 AM

This animal is no different from the rats parents buy for their children at Petco. Same furry coat, same whiskers, same appetite for treats. Now imagine your child's pet with this kind of injury. What's truly "ugly" here is the fact that the spectacle of this creature's suffering is being celebrated with a prize.

Feb. 09 2012 08:42 AM

Just the other day my wife and son were left standing on a subway platform for several minutes while a conductor held a conversation and ignored them, refusing to either open the door or let the train depart, holding hundreds of people hostage to her whims. I feel a lot more for the poor rat than for most TWU Local 100 workers.

Feb. 09 2012 08:18 AM

Still, much cuter than certain union leaders and politicians.

Feb. 09 2012 08:13 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.