Tourists flock to stairs from Joker movie
But many Bronx locals aren't happy about the influx of Instagrammers and social media influencers
The steps used to shoot a now-famous dance scene in the new Joker movie have become a tourist attraction — but not everyone is welcoming the influx of Instagrammers and social media influencers who are descending on the newly minted New York City hotspot.
Located in the Bronx between two buildings on Shakespeare Avenue, not far from Yankee Stadium, the once-relatively quiet steps are hosting a non-stop stream of visitors, some of them even dressing up like the Joker character.
Some recreate the fictional figure's jolting dance moves.
Other images simply seem to say, "I was here."
Joker Stairs. A população do Bronx não está a achar piada à romaria, “nunca ninguém ligava a isto e agora...”. Verdade, o cinema tem esse poder, e isso é bom. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nyc?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#nyc</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/movielocations?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#movielocations</a> <a href="https://t.co/jPDGInYaZN">pic.twitter.com/jPDGInYaZN</a>—@anasantiagolx
Some got their pets in on the action.
A local politician saw civic potential.
If you’re gonna visit the Bronx to take a picture of the Joker stairs, please be respectful to residents -- and stick around to check out our shops and restaurants! Our borough has more to offer than just stairs, I promise. <a href="https://t.co/2j6zUG6tzF">https://t.co/2j6zUG6tzF</a>—@EricDinowitz
Some offered a little local history.
Fun fact: my grandpa used to go to those stairs from the Joker movie everyday when he lived in the Bronx and in the winter people would sled down the shit lol—@bambananaz
And some decided they'd just sit this meme out.
Think I’ll wait a couple years when the joker meme is irrelevant and then go get a picture at the Bronx stairs—@String_B3an
But it turns out not everyone is happy about the new crush of tourists, and some are warning people to stay away.
"Please, if you're reading this and you're not from around here (or ever been to the Bronx, Yankee stadium does not count)," writes one Twitter user, "PLEASE DO NOT COME HERE."
It’s really called the Joker Stairs on google now (I just searched it). <br><br>Please, if you’re reading this and you’re not from around here (or ever been to the Bronx, Yankee stadium does not count) PLEASE DO NOT COME HERE. <br><br>Thanks, <br>Bronx Resident <a href="https://t.co/s5u9gVPtyM">pic.twitter.com/s5u9gVPtyM</a>—@_cvndy
One video shows a local pelting visitors with eggs; another spoofs the camera-happy Instagram set. [Warning: contains violence and strong language.]
Jim the Gentrifier visits the Joker stairs in the Bronx 🤣💀 <a href="https://t.co/xZHkOSCGTF">pic.twitter.com/xZHkOSCGTF</a>—@Timhannrivera
Others have expressed support for those taking matters into their own hands.
I cannot express to you how happy it makes me that kids are stealing people's cameras and lights from "the joker stairs" in The Bronx.<br><br>Keep on it, kids. Fight cultural gentrification!—@YesThatMGibson
While some still can't quite believe it's happening.
Nah i still cant get over these south bronx steps becoming a tourist attraction <br> <a href="https://t.co/4ehkB5Zh5d">pic.twitter.com/4ehkB5Zh5d</a>—@Damnsuh
Even New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in, saying that the steps were famous when she was growing up — but not for the same reason.
"When I was growing up, everyone would tell us to stay away from those steps or go with a friend," the Bronx native told TMZ. "The Bronx is much safer now and I'm happy to say that," she added, before offering a little advice.
"Listen, keep your Instagram posts outside of the Boogie Down," she joked, using another name for the Bronx. "This is for us."
It's not the first time the Joker stair scene has generated controversy: shortly after the release of the film, commenters online expressed outrage over the use of the song Rock and Roll by convicted child molester Gary Glitter.
It's also not the first famous film staircase. Movie buffs still scale the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which feature prominently in a training montage in the Sylvester Stallone film Rocky.
And horror lovers regularly travel to the Georgetown neighbourhood of Washington, D.C. to find the stone steps where character Father Damien Karras dies in The Exorcist. In fact, in 2015, the steep 75-step staircase was honoured by city officials and marked with a commemorative plaque. [Warning: video contains violence.]
With a haul of more than $850 million worldwide, Joker broke box office records for an October release, and is already the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time.