‘Joker stairs’ become New York's latest tourist hotspot

The hit movie, starring Joaquin Phoenix, is attracting tourists to a set of outdoor steps in the Bronx

Joker: this staircase in the Bronx in New York has become an unlikely tourist spot. Photograph:	Niko Tavernise

Joker: this staircase in the Bronx in New York has become an unlikely tourist spot. Photograph: Niko Tavernise

 

Move over, Rocky, there’s a new stairway to climb.

A set of outdoor steps in the Bronx in New York has become a tourist attraction in recent weeks since the release of the hit film Joker.

In the film, the staircase scene captures the moment that the loner Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, transforms into the Joker. He dances down the steps to Gary Glitter’s anthem Rock & Roll Part 2, his hair dyed a menacing green and his face painted like a clown.

These days, local residents using the steps are being joined by tourists trying to recreate the scene.

A woman does a Joker dance on the staircase in the Bronx. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP via Getty
A woman does a Joker dance on the staircase in the Bronx. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP via Getty

The visitors have been taking selfies, and some have even shown up in costume.

The stairway joins the ranks of well-known film settings, like that of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art seen in Rocky.

Coming to the stairs is “really immersive,” said Oliver Bonallack, visiting from Brighton, England.

“You never really get to experience a film first-hand,” he said. “I feel like it is so iconic.”

Tourists from all over the world have flocked to the steps since watching Joaquin Phoenix dancing in Joker. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP via Getty
Tourists from all over the world have flocked to the steps after watching Joaquin Phoenix dancing in Joker. Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP via Getty

Not everyone is thrilled with the upsurge in popularity.

“We live in the neighbourhood, it’s taking up all of our time, we’re all being inconvenienced,” said Bronx resident Cathyrine Spencer.

“Every day when I come down the stairs, I have to go through a barrage of people.”

Joker, directed by Todd Phillips, has dominated the box-office this month. It broke the record for the largest October opening weekend in the US, at $96.2 million (€86.7 million). – AP, Reuters