It is already difficult to take a photo without interference or even just walk calmly up the stairs — it is occupied by tourists.
The main movie in the autumn of 2019 was The Joker: by the end of October, it had already earned $744 million and received the title of “The Most Successful R-rated Movie (For Adult Audiences)”. For a month, the picture went into scandals and lit up in memes, and the character of Joaquin Phoenix is compared with the embodiment of the same hero from Heath Ledger.
The consequence of this popularity was that the fans of the film chose the stairs in the Bronx, where they filmed the scene with the Joker dance. It seems to be an inconspicuous span connecting two streets in the Highbridge area, received cult status, and tourists and bloggers reached there.
At some point, the desire to take a photo in the scenery of the film went too far: a video was posted on social networks, where it is clear that several dozen people are simultaneously doing photographs and selfies on the Joker Stairs. Other Instagram posts also show that taking photos without strangers in the background is already quite difficult.
Vulture journalist Nate Jones noted that crowds are gathering on the stairs at 9am. According to him, because of the “Joker” people came to the Bronx not only from all over the country, but also from different parts of the world — the reporter saw people from China and Brazil.
Then Jones talked with several tourists and was surprised to learn that they did not even watch the film — they came to a popular place because of the meme dancing on the steps of the Joker.
Some residents of the area are not enthusiastic about fans of the Joker and their presence in the Bronx. A Highbridge resident named Jonathan Francis told Gothamist that his neighbors used to use the stairs on the way to school and work, but now they have stopped. District head Ruben Diaz Jr. hoped that fans of the film would not only take photos for free but would also spend money in the Bronx establishments.
Brian Felitz grew up a few blocks from the Joker Stairs. “Understand, this place is not only selfies and hashtags. Understand that people live here, and your desire to be photographed affects the locals,” he said. A leaflet appeared on a pillar near the stairs asking tourists to “show respect to the residents of the area.”
There were residents of the Bronx who reacted normally to the new attraction. According to some locals, the new tourist destination will help the Bronx get rid of its long-standing reputation as a “criminal district.” And the deputy of the State Assembly, Latoya Joyner, suggested that now they would at least clean the stairs more often.
But residents of the district understand that everything is just beginning. “Halloween is coming, and the whole staircase will be in people in Joker costumes,” recalled local resident Michael.