Great walks: Superheroes

Fans of Marvel’s Spider-Man and DC Comics’ Batman can peep sights from their hero’s movie canon.

  • Flatiron Building

  • Manhattan Comics & More

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    New York Public Library

  • Photograph: Lauren Foy

    Empire State Building

  • Photograph: Courtesy

    Chrysler Building

  • Photograph: Alexey Kotlik


  • Grand Central

Flatiron Building

The Amazing Spider-Man and the Dark Knight Rises inspire this superhero trek. Hit up such NYC landmarks as the Flatiron Building and the New York Public Library while pretending to soar like a bird (or plane!) or sling your own Spidey web.

RECOMMENDED: See all Great Walks

Start: 175 Fifth Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts
End: 225 E 44th St between Second and Third Aves
Time: 1 hour
Distance: 1.6 miles

Flatiron Building

Bystanders in comics tend to cast their eyes skyward, searching for Bat Signals and caped crusaders, but your first stop is something more concrete: In Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man film, the Flatiron Building (175 Fifth Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts) stood in for the headquarters of Peter Parker’s newspaper, the Daily Bugle. A less-famous Marvel comic, Damage Control, uses the same edifice as the home base for a construction company charged with fixing the havoc wreaked on New York during epic battles between heroes and villains.


Any Spidey aficionado should recognize the New York Public Library’s main branch (Fifth Ave at 42nd St; 917-275-6975, as the site where a carjacker shot Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben in Raimi’s version. But step inside: The research section of the picturesque institution also houses more than 35,000 comics, some of which date back to 1896. The delicate pages aren’t on public display, but you can fill out a request slip if you want a closer look at 1,300 issues of Spider-Man, works by Walt Disney and more.

Empire State Building & Chrysler Building

Several other local landmarks have inspired creators of classic cartoons and recent films: The Empire State Building (350 Fifth Ave between 33rd and 34th Sts;, 212-736-3100) has long been a popular hang for Spider-Man, while Thor uses the metal spire of the Chrysler Building (405 Lexington Ave at 44th St) to give his hammer some extra oomph in Joss Whedon’s recent megahit, The Avengers. A little farther north is the MetLife Building (200 Park Ave at 44th St), which was reimagined in the movie as Stark Tower, owned by Iron Man’s alter ego, Tony Stark.


Pop into Overlook (225 E 44th St between Second and Third Aves; 212-682-7266, for a drink and, more importantly, to scope the unique wall decor: The bar’s relationship with cartoonists goes back to 1935, when New Yorker artist James Thurber struck a deal to pay for his food and drink by drawing on the walls. Today, the impromptu gallery includes work by a variety of artists, such as Daily News cartoonist Bill Gallo, Mad’s Al Jaffee and Bizarro’s Dan Piraro.

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Grand Central

Even evildoers consider NYC the center of the known universe and, thus, a key strategic base. An abandoned section of Grand Central Terminal (42nd St to 44th St between Vanderbilt and Lexington Aves;, 212-697-1245) served as Lex Luthor’s lair (theoretically, 200 feet below Metropolis). In The Avengers, the mighty team first faces off against arch enemy Loki’s army at Pershing Square and the Park Avenue Viaduct (E 42nd St at Park Ave), but the sextet soon crashes through Grand Central itself. The damage would have topped an estimated $160 billion, but we think that’s a small price to pay to save the world.