Man dressed as giant rat riding train admits ‘it’s easy to stay socially distanced’

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Jonathon Lyons


A bloke who travels the New York subway dressed as a giant rat says his bizarre costume “makes it easy to practice social distancing”.

Jonothon Lyons perches on train seats wearing the strange regalia as part of his work as a performance artist.

He says his costume is ideal for staying covid-secure: “I don’t have to worry about people staying 6 feet away from me.”

A video of Jonathan riding the rails dressed as Buddy The Rat went viral online, with the official account for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority joking: “Thank you for wearing a mask.”

Jonathon points out that he wears a surgical face mask underneath his rat “face”.

Jonathon (and Buddy) moved from Arizona to NYC in 2005

In fact, sometimes he wears an extra mask on top of Buddy’s face as well.

When not infesting the underground, Jonothon works in physical theatre and puppetry, as well as performing as part of barbershop quartet The Apple Boys.

He’s even done a stint with internationally famous performance art company Blue Man Group.

Jonathon Lyons
The tail is very much part of the costume

But Jonathon’s best known scampering around on TikTok as Manhattan’s largest rodent.

He occasionally carries a giant pizza slice to add a touch of realism to the scene.

Jonathon said he created his Buddy the Rat character just over 10 years ago, and his first video, showing Buddy’s expedition to Times Square scored over 70,000 views on YouTube.

He retired the character for a short time but was persuaded to put the costume back on by film director Todd Strauss for a short film which is set to launch on Strauss’s video channel for Thanksgiving in the US.

The film shoot drew plenty of attention, with onlookers taking photos and recording videos.

But no-one was fazed by the sight of a six-foot-tall rat capering around.

“Most New Yorkers are totally indifferent,” he told the New York Post.





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