Blog·q

Tourists flock to stairs from Joker movie

But many Bronx locals aren't happy about the influx of Instagrammers and social media influencers looking to recreate the film's iconic dance scene.

But many Bronx locals aren't happy about the influx of Instagrammers and social media influencers

The Bronx steps where a key scene from the blockbuster film Joker was shot have become a tourist hotspot. (YouTube)

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."

 

Some got their pets in on the action.

 

A local politician saw civic potential.

 

Some offered a little local history.

 

And some decided they'd just sit this meme out.

 

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."

 

One video shows a local pelting visitors with eggs; another spoofs the camera-happy Instagram set. [Warning: contains violence and strong language.]

 

Others have expressed support for those taking matters into their own hands.

 

While some still can't quite believe it's happening.

 

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.

About the Author

Jennifer Van Evra is a Vancouver-based journalist and digital producer for q. She can be found on Twitter @jvanevra or email jennifer.vanevra@cbc.ca.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.