The Staircase From The Joker Has Become a Meme, and Locals Aren’t Laughing

joker stairs

The New York staircase from the critically acclaimed film The Joker where Joaquin Phoenix’s character Arthur Fleck breaks out into dance before all hell quite literally breaks loose, has seen a recent influx of Instagrammers seeking to recreate the scene much to the dismay of local Bronx residents. 

Since the release of the film, the steep staircase that connects Shakespeare and Anderson avenues and runs along West 167th Street in Highbridge has transformed from an often-avoided and fairly empty passageway to a photo op brimming with tourists, many of which rock up dressed as the Joker in a maroon suit and full face of clown makeup (how does that train commute go down?). 

But those who actually live in The Bronx are less than impressed, with many taking to Twitter to express their disdain at the whole photo op palaver. 

“If you’re reading this and you’re not from around here (or ever been to the Bronx – Yankee stadium does not count) PLEASE DO NOT COME HERE,” one disgruntled resident wrote.

The 131-step passageway, which has now been officially labelled on Google Maps as ‘Joker Stairs’, is known among locals as a place to avoid for the frequent robberies and petty crime that has taken place there for years. 

“Them stairs ain’t nothing but an asthma attack and a swift robbery set up… but you know… Welcome to the South Bronx,” wrote one local on Twitter. 

“I used to think it was a tragedy, but now I realise it’s a comedy,” came another winning Tweet from a Bronx dweller. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, congresswoman and activist who was born in the borough and represents part of east Bronx, told TMZ she grew up avoiding the stairs after being warned against them. 

“When I was growing up everyone would tell us to stay away from those steps or go with a friend,” she said, adding: “The Bronx is much safer now and I’m happy to say that.”

When asked about the Instagram hype around the staircase, she continued: “Keep your Instagram posts outside of the Boogie Down. This is for us.”