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Meme Tourism in the U.S: Joker Stairs as a New Bronx Attraction

Meme Tourism in the U.S: Joker Stairs as a New Bronx Attraction photo

The Internet loves hype: from Gangnam Style to the Harlem Shake, it just comes across all the social media and makes people go crazy about it. The same is with places: now a new tourist attraction in Bronx, New York, has become not a park, museum, monument or art installation, but a simple stairway. Squeezed between ordinary apartment buildings, it has been named Joker Stairs after the famous Joker movie scene. Since it was released, fans were coming there to pose for photos and later spam in the social media – to the growing annoyance of local residents.

Film-related tourism

Quite often people visit places they see in their favorite shows and movies: Kevin`s house from «Home Alone» on Lincoln Avenue 671 in Chicago, Swan House in Atlanta or Central Park in New York that was shown in many different famous films. However, the relationships between the tourist attractions, tourists and local residents differ depending on the place. Less than two weeks after Joker was presented and gathered over $737 million worldwide, it left for fans a steep set of stairs in the Bronx region (between Shakespeare and Anderson avenues).

When fans found out that the scene was filmed in a real public place, they started traveling to this place brightly dressed and playing soundtracks from the movie. Now they are more known as Joker Stairs, a tourist attraction, and posing at them (ideally, in a costume) with posting these pictures on Instagram has already become a meme (images tagged #JokerStairs). The first meme was published in April 2019 when such pictures were used for the movie advertising campaign. From there, it got the name of Joker and Peter Parker Dancing meme (photoshopped pictures from Spider-Man 3 on the stairs).

Earlier this month some fans published the location of the stairs on Google`s Street View and opened them to the floating of tourists. Local residents were not thrilled by such popularity: some of them hung posters asking to leave them alone, some, more irritated representatives, threw eggs at tourists claiming they never spent money there but instead made a lot of pictures. One woman remembers avoiding these stairs when growing up: now this place is much safer for everybody.

This is not the first time when a movie scene quickly turns into a new tourist attraction and people have to deal with it. Going viral is absolutely natural as well as doing selfies. This is what a modern world consists of and it is also known as the Instagram effect or meme tourism.

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