Everyone loves to visit the sets of their favorite movies, but some people take it one step too far. Popularized by the dancing scene in the movie Joker, the stairs connecting Shakespeare and Anderson Avenues in the Bronx’s Highridge neighborhood are now overrun with tourists. The stairs have their own Instagram hashtag with over 700 tagged photos and were even added to Google Maps as a “religious site” — though the designation has since been removed.
As with many tourist attractions located in neighborhoods, the residents aren’t exactly pleased. Neighbors are encountering heavy foot traffic using the stairs to get to work and school, and some have stopped using them entirely.
Twenty-nine-year-old Jonathan Francis, who has lived in the neighborhood his entire life, told Gothamist, “We hope it ends soon because we don’t need this. We feel disrespected.”
According to another resident, Brayan Felix, “It’s not just selfies and hashtags. Understand that people live in those places and that just you taking a picture is gonna have an impact in that community.”
Posters have even been taped to nearby lampposts and walls saying, “It is disrespectful to treat our community and residents as a photo opportunity.”
That doesn’t mean there’s no silver lining to the situation. In the past, residents have complained about the cleanliness of the stairs, and State Assemblymember Latoya Joyner thinks maybe all the attention will help change that. “It’s more now about how do we keep the areas clean and attractive for the residents that actually do live there,” she said, “and are there on a daily basis and have to walk up and down those steps.”
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