5 Years After 'Pizza Rat,' New Yorker Films This Mountain of Rats in Broad Daylight

The coronavirus pandemic may have changed how often New Yorkers get to enjoy dining out in the city, but it's apparently had no effect on the rats. A mountain of them was spotted enjoying a feast of seeds in a vacant lot on the Lower East Side recently.

Swarms of fat black rats were captured on video by New York resident Christina Martinelli on Sunday. Martinelli told Gothamist that it was "the most rats I've ever seen in my life huddled together and eating bird seed in broad daylight without a care in the world."

The nearly two dozen rats closely piled up in the video make it clear that none of them were concerned with abiding by social distancing rules. There were no masks in sight, either—just a bunch of rats getting their grub on.

The rat outing comes amid the five-year anniversary of the discovery of a former New York City rat icon, Pizza Rat.

Back in 2015, a YouTube video of a rat trying to lug an entire slice of pizza down a set of subway stairs in the concrete jungle went viral. The pizza slice was twice the size of the rat, but its determination to get the food home was much bigger and led to an abundance of fanfare from the humans of New York City.

City dwellers all across the internet lauded the ambitious rodent for its dedication, and soon Pizza Rat was hailed as a staple of New York, a gritty rodent-sized example of what it takes to live and survive in the Big Apple. "He appears poised to complete the descent and return to his squalid rat hole with his unnecessarily large prize—an inspiring demonstration of the grit and determination one needs to make it in New York City," writer Caroline Bankoff noted in a 2015 Intelligencer article.

The rat did, however, abandon its mission—the large cheesy slice proved to be just too heavy of a load for its small body to carry. Still, its efforts managed to strike a chord.

Mountain of Rats Filmed in New York
Three rats scavenge for food on the subway platform at Herald Square September 3, 2017, in New York City on. Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

"Obsessed with #PizzaRat," Bravo's Andy Cohen tweeted at the time.

Pizza Rat addressed the video in a tweet of its own—because of course someone would make a Twitter handle for a New York critter on the brink of fame—and claimed that it wasn't aiming to set an example.

"Wasn't trying to make a statement, humans. Just trying to get some damn pizza down some subway stairs," the tweet read.

Wasn't trying to make a statement, humans. Just trying to get some damn pizza down some subway stairs.

— NYCPizzaRat (@NYCPizzaRat) September 21, 2015