If you’ve ever walked past Grand Central Station on Lexington, you’ve probably never noticed the Graybar Rats, New York’s only architectural rats.
The art deco Graybar Electric building was built in the 1920s, and as Graybar was originally a steamship company, the architects designed it with a maritime theme. Hence the mooring lines (the awning poles) of a ship securing the building to Lexington Avenue complete with its anti-rat funnels that deterred rats from stowing away on ships. This building has its own three evil cast iron rats climbing above the building’s entrance. Even more unusual and not so obvious are the rosettes that connect the poles are actually decorated with rat heads.
Who would have thought that the likes of CBS, Vogue and Vanity Fair would have once set up their offices in a rodent inspired building? Apparently as the years went by, one of the rats mysteriously disappeared. But in 2000, when the building was being restored, there were special instructions to “replace the missing rat”.
Thousands of New York commuters and tourists pass underneath these Graybar Rats daily, and never notice them. So the next time you walk down Lex, look up, and check out New York’s only cherished rats.