A rat-shaped hole in a Chicago sidewalk has become a viral sensation, with people calling it “more iconic than The Bean” and flocking to see it.
Chicago artist and comedian Winslow Dumaine on Saturday posted a photo on X of what looks like the imprint of a rat’s corpse at a murder scene on a Windy City sidewalk, writing, “Had to make a pilgrimage to the Chicago Rat Hole.”
The picture of the rodent-shaped pit in the sidewalk pavement, taken in the neighborhood of Roscoe Village, amassed over 5 million views in just two days.
Dumaine — who was told about the local spot by a friend — says he never intended for the post to become a sensation but that he thinks it took off because the photo struck just the right tenor.
“It involves an animal, it involves something that everyone can get involved with, it didn’t have profanity, and it wasn’t political,” he told a local Patch outlet of the spot — which has been compared in current popularity to the Windy City’s famed Cloud Gate sculpture, a k a “The Bean” because of its shape.
“So all of those things combined kind of made for this perfect storm of algorithmic success,” Dumaine said of the Rat Hole’s draw.
Resident Cindy Nelson says the hole has been in the sidewalk for the 20 years since she has lived there.
Nelson says she always thought it was an imprint of squirrel — and not that of a rat — which must have fallen from a tree that used to grow there.
Nelson said she is skeptical it could be a rat imprint.
“I don’t believe a rat hops in the air and belly-flops straight down,” Nelson told Fox 10.
But that hasn’t stopped people from flocking to the locale and posting photos of themselves there in the comments of Dumaine’s initial post.
Chicago is notorious for its rat problem, having topped the list of US cities with the biggest infestation of the animal for nine years in a row, according to exterminator company Orkin. New York is two places behind, after Chicago and Los Angeles.
One X user posted a picture of themselves Jan. 7 with the caption: “I’ve made my pilgrimage.”
Another person posted a photo of the spot taken in 2016 saying, “I need to get back there.”
A photo of the hole with a tiny bouquet of flowers was also posted in the comments Jan. 7 with the caption: “Visited today. live each day like it’s your last…”
The Lakeview-Roscoe Chamber of Commerce has even set up a naming contest for the little patch of pavement near the intersection of Roscoe Street and Damen Avenue that had, up until now, been nicknamed “Lil Stucky,” according to a chamber rep.
People can submit name suggestions for the vermin-shaped landmark until Jan. 18.
Dumaine said jokingly that he doesn’t want to be defined by the one post since he has a lot more to offer professionally.
“Look, I wrote a book, I made a Tarot deck, I traveled the world selling my stickers, I’m making a card game,” he said. “I’m such an insane, obnoxious multi-hyphenate that I can’t be ‘the Rat Hole Guy.’ ”
Still, Dumaine says the photo has led people to start searching his name online and has helped significantly boost pre-orders of his Tarot deck. He hopes the success won’t fizzle out when his 15 minutes of fame are up.