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Bronx staircase featured in ‘Joker’ movie becomes tourist attraction, for better or worse

Posted at 7:23 PM, Oct 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-19 19:42:34-04

HIGHBRIDGE, the Bronx — Are the “Joker” stairs the new “Rocky” stairs? Maybe.

The film, which has already received criticism that it glorifies violence and evokes empathy for a killer, is now facing backlash for its use of a song by convicted child sex offender Gary Glitter. (Warner Bros.)

Fans of the “Joker,” the film that hit theaters earlier this month, are taking photos in front of those stairs.

You know the ones. Joker, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, dances down the stairs as Gary Glitter’s (controversial) “Rock and Roll Part 2” plays in the background. The scene has done so well, it’s even become a widely used GIF and internet meme.

And it seems like those stairs, which connect Shakespeare and Anderson avenues at West 167th Street in the Highbridge section of the Bronx, are becoming a popular tourist attraction, potentially to the chagrin of Bronx residents.

Comedian Desus Nice, who co-hosts Showtime’s “Desus & Mero,” tweeted about the flux of people visiting the stairs.

Despite being home to the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Gardens and Yankee Stadium, the Bronx isn’t one of the more popular boroughs for tourists.

Now, that could be changing, at least a little bit — and the Instagram photos are proof, with photos of fans doing their best impressions of the Joker’s dance on location flooding the internet.

Not everyone tried to mimic the Joker. Shout out to James May, who went for the basic tourist photo standing in front of the stairs.

“Joker,” meanwhile, has shattered box office records, opening to $96 million, the highest-grossing October debut ever. The buzz hasn’t worn off, bringing in $55 million in its second weekend in North America alone. As of last weekend, the movie had brought in $543 million globally.

The film won the Venice Film Festival’s top prize before its public debut, which has led to Oscar buzz as well.