Man dressed as giant rat takes subway mask requirement to new heights

Man dressed as giant rat takes subway mask requirement to new heights

So this giant rat walks into a Midtown subway car — and nobody blinks an eye.

“Buddy the Rat” — AKA performance artist Jonothan Lyons — has been boring seen-it-all subway riders a lot these days as he perches on seats in all his rodent regalia, including a full-face mask and a long pink tail.

But Tiktok loves him.

“Oh NYC is dead? Explain this,” self-described comedy writer Alison Williams posted on Twitter over a Tiktok video of the human rodent boarding a No. 1 at 42nd Street that’s going viral.

Lyons, who wears a suit and nice shoes, plus gloves on his hands as he crawls, has posted about 30 other Tiktok videos, and appeared in a few filmed by passersby, including one where he scampered across a city street.

Lyons works in physical theater and puppetry, including a stint with the Blue Man Group.

He said he created Buddy the Rat about 11 years ago, and posted a video on YouTube of a visit to Times Square that got about 70,000 views.

Lyons brought Buddy out of retirement last month to tape a short film with director Todd Strauss-Schulson, known for “Isn’t It Romantic” and “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.”

Their short — which Lyons described as, “Lonely rat finds love and dances the night away” — will debut on Lyons’ Vimeo and YouTube channels on Thanksgiving Day.

While they were filming in Washington Square Park, Buddy started getting attention, and some spectators took videos.

A post of them filming has now made Buddy social media famous, and Lyons has started taking the character out on the town just for fun.

Lyons, a native of Arizona who moved to New York in 2005, enjoys the fact that the sight of a man in a rat costume doesn’t phase most people.

“Most New Yorkers are totally indifferent,” he said, though he added that some people do get excited and occasionally scared when Buddy appears.

Charles entertainment cheese. #nyc#nycarlifestyle #halloween #idkitstheambiance

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He joked that the costume makes it easy to practice social distancing.

“I don’t have to worry about people staying 6 feet away from me,” he said, adding that he’s wearing a regular mask underneath Buddy’s face.

The MTA gave an apparent OK to the faux rodent’s face wear, retweeting the video with the comment, “Thank you for wearing a mask.”

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