Every now and then in New York City, one gets to see “union rats”—they are those large, inflatable, grey rats that are put up by trade unions to call attention to some kind of dispute between them and their employers. Menacing and grotesque, these 12-foot rats make their presence felt no matter when they are placed—but did you know that there’s a bronze version of the union rat located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan? 


Located in the plaza of the Lever House at 390 Park Avenue, this bronze replica of the union rat is called “The New Colossus,” and it was a project of The Bruce High Quality Foundation. As a long-standing symbol of the working class protest against exploitation, the presence of this sculpture in this predominantly white-collar neighborhood is particularly ironic, and serves as a conversation starter for all those who unexpectedly discover this artwork.

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