Hot NYC Souvenirs on Craigslist: Dead Rats, Bacteria, and a Giant Middle Finger


Summer tourist season, thankfully, ended months ago. But the holiday season is now in full swing, bringing with it swarms of slow-walkers and gawkers who are descending upon the city daily. They’re here to take cheerful selfies at ground zero, see Wicked, and spend their hard-earned cash on foam Lady Liberty crowns and shockingly affordable Vuitton luggage. The authentic New York experience.

They’re also here to buy souvenirs. And buy they will. But if they want a piece of real New York to take home with them, they should have a look at what real New Yorkers have to sell. And it turns out that real New Yorkers are willing to part with just about anything. Here are five souvenirs that are more authentically New York than any key chain, mug, or “New York Shitty” T-shirt you can buy in Times Square:

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Mummified Rat, $40

According to this item’s seller, Tribeca artist Shawn Washburn, this desiccated creature came to New York from a farm in Pennsylvania, which is about as New York a story as it gets. In life, the rat probably dreamed of being a writer, paid too much for a terrible share in deep Queens and cluelessly spoke of “Hew-ston Street” and “Green-witch Village” before going to the great subway track in the sky (and ultimately Craigslist).

Assorted Bacteria, $50

This vintage box o’ bacteria includes strep, E. coli, and several other pathogenic bacteria, as well as bacteria from fermented cabbage (kraut) and the inside of a mouth. If you’re leaving New York, chances are you have a lot of these already (it’s also quite possible you got them from the rat that freaked you out at the West 4th Street F-train station) and they’re definitely not the only things you’ll catch from Craigslist. *Note: If you don’t have the 50 bucks to procure this convenient collection, you can probably pick up many of the same bacteria for free by simply riding the subway, handling the change you got for your frothy Egg Nog latte, or, apparently, climbing inside one of the city’s iconic rooftop water tanks.

“The Finger” Sculpture, $75

This tasteful tribute to the New York Salute comprises an astonishing two feet of plaster. With disturbingly elongated digits poised in a “come hither — no wait, fuck off” gesture, this sculpture is a zany alternative to the usual snowman and Santa seasonal decor. For full New Yorker points, slip this into the neighbor’s Nativity at night. Build it with snow or buy it on Craigslist.

Authentic New York Pigeons, “cheap to reasonable”

A parrot says, “I’m unfathomably lonely.” Too many cats says, “Somebody love me. Please.” But a real, authentic New York City pigeon says, “I’m naturally immune to over 60 diseases.” There is literally no better souvenir of a fun trip to New York than one or several of the winged vermin that eat our garbage, shit on our park benches, and refuse to get out of our way on the sidewalk. Clearly gun-shy from litigious pigeon-buyers of the past, this seller — who breeds his pigeons for show — would like you to know that “OBVIOUSLY THESE PICS ARE NOT THE ACTUAL BIRDS.” This Craigslist ad is also not an actual bird. Nor is this article. Obviously.

Nathan’s Hotdog Recipe Book, $10

If the crucifying abdominal cramps and kosher-beef sweats aren’t memento enough, buy this scrumptious-looking Nathan’s hotdog cookbook on Craigslist. Using the time-honored holiday recipes, like Hot Dogs New England, Hot Dog Tarts, and what is best described as a Frank Basket, your wiener-heavy seasonal spread is guaranteed to be a smash hit with the whole family.