While Chicago can pride itself on its array of astounding public art pieces, world-renowned museums, and critically-acclaimed skyscrapers, there are two less desirable things that our great city has in abundance: potholes and rats.
With Chicago recently labeled the rattiest city in the United States and residents having to resort to taking it upon themselves to tackle the city’s neglected pothole problem, neither the unsightly craters nor copious critters show any signs of abating.
In fact, thanks to the abundance of the two we now have a new creation that has recently come to light thanks to a social media phenomenon initiated by a local Chicago artist.
Introducing you to… the Chicago Rat Hole.
Ok, first of all, we know this isn’t your typical exasperating abyss often played down as a mere pothole but rather just a diminutive dent in the road. We’re also aware of claims it is the imprint of a squirrel and not of a hapless member of the city’s voluminous vermin population but it’s now been given the name “Chicago Rat Hole” and we’re all for the attraction’s newfound fame.
Besides, ‘The Chicago Squirrel Imprint’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
The rat hole has quickly garnered the city’s attention over the last week after local artist and comedian, Winslow Dumaine, posted a photo to X, formerly Twitter, with the caption “Had to make a pilgrimage to the Chicago rat hole.”
After taking a photo with his phone and uploading it to X, Dumaine’s post received nearly 5 million views in its first 48 hours. Since then people have flocked to the spot near 1918 W. Roscoe St. leaving coins and flowers among other things.
The social media explosion has been an unexpected blessing for Dumaine who has experienced an influx of visitors to his website where his artwork can be found. To the extent that it’s quickly provided him with enough sales to pay the rent.
“Chicago’s the best city in the world, man,” said Dumaine. “It’s the only place where a rat hole will pay your rent.” His enthusiasm is fathomable but it is also the communal worldwide appreciation for this new Roscoe Village landmark that is so wonderful says Durmaine.
“You can show this to someone who doesn’t speak a word of English, you can show this to someone 500 years ago, and they would know exactly what happened,” he added. “It’s just a universally lovely, funny thing.”
According to Chicago Sun-Times, however, the unlucky rodent might not have been a rat but instead a local squirrel.
Locals told the Sun-Times that the imprint has been on the sidewalk for 20 years and many assumed it was a squirrel that fell out of a tree that used to hang over the exact spot.
I guess we will never know the real culprit, so the Chicago Rat Hole it shall henceforth be known.
[Featured image from Twitter]