Got a rat problem? Welcome to the club. Literally.
Squeakeasies are street-art installations popping up around trash cans and filthy corners in New York’s rattiest neighborhoods. Hunter Fine, a 38-year-old Bushwick artist, makes them.
“I read this article about the rat reservoirs around NYC and just thought it would be funny to build bars for them,” Fine told Bushwick Daily. “Then the word Squeakeasy came up and I just had to roll with it.”
Fine has been building the rats and sets in his studio at Jefferson Street since summertime; over the past few weeks, he’s been putting them across the city.
“I just show up with a gluegun and drop them, take photos and walk away hoping people will take photos,” Fine said.
To go with the spoofy theme of Squeakeasies, Fine created Zagrat, a rodents’ insider guide to the city. On the site, he details the names, locations — even reviews — of each Squeakeasy. For example, Pestropolis gets a four-cheese rating as “Dumbo’s trendiest new rodent saloon.” The Traphouse, “a favorite amongst the young Greenpoint inhabitants, known for it’s larger pours of vino,” earned three and a half cheeses.
City living inspires Fine, who has been in New York for 15 years and had “more than a few” apartments with a rat problem. The inspiration isn’t limited to just rodents, however. Before Squeakeasies, Fine made news with his Hipster Traps and Bed Bug Hotels.
Whatever is behind Fine’s art, it’s definitely not money.
“It’s not really a commercial art thing, not selling anything,” Fine said. “Just trying to do cool things out there in the world.
All images courtesy of Hunter Fine