It all started with a Batman watch my Aunt Barb gave me in second grade. I knew for a fact I was the coolest kid attending school at McKinley elementary, quite possibly the entire state of California. This watch was that cool. I know this might come as a bit of a shock, but that watch was my official induction into becoming a die hard Batman enthusiast.
[Mine had a yellow band]
After school I would race home to watch the original Batman TV show (reruns, of course) and eat slices of ham. Although my mom was a little leery, my Aunts and Uncles would take me to watch all the Batman movies. My dad and I would make weekly trips to the comic book store where I would dream of having my own Batman collection. (I collected the Beavis & Butthead ones instead.) Around high school my Batman obsession fizzled out and I moved on to bigger and better things.
When I moved to Chicago my love for the Batman series picked up right where it left off. I was having a terrible week and not adjusting well to the city, despite having tons of friends. On the verge of a meltdown, a life changing friend took me to see The Dark Knight the week it came out. While watching the movie something magical happened. I realized what a fantastic city I was living in. And how much I loved Christian Bale.
What a privilege to be able to explore a real life Gotham city. I took architecture boat tours that pointed out all the buildings the Dark Knight used for filming. I saw the movie multiple more times in the theatre, including at the IMAX at Navy Pier. The same girlfriend even made me a homemade Batman costume for Halloween! A single childhood love combined with a movie filmed in a fabulous city renewed my spirit and before I knew it I was falling in love with Chicago.
[Gotham City Bank, aka the old Post Office, as seen from the Chicago River]
[Me as Batman]
Just as I was starting to feel at home in my Gotham I got the news that I would be moving. To Pittsburgh. While I can’t pretend I was all bummer and no smiles, I was quite devastated. Chicago and I were just getting to know each other. Halloween marked my last night in Chicago so I dressed up in my Batman best and hit the city with a heavy heart. My Batman costume making, life saving friend surprised me with a going away cake that brought me to tears.
[DQ Blizzard Cake and Batman?!]
Although I met nice friends in Pittsburgh, it just wasn’t the same at Chicago. I longed for riding the El and the buzz of the city. The Dark Knight came out on dvd shortly after I moved. In effort to cheer me up, my new friends took me to get the dvd and celebrated with a Batman viewing party. They even let me dress up in my cape and eye mask without making too much fun of me.
[Sweet cape, right?!]
Last week when I was visiting Chicago I was lucky enough to get to stay in my bff’s parents apartment in the city. The view from there is breathtaking. Several buildings highlighted in the Dark Knight, including Bruce Wayne Enterprises, are so close you feel like you can reach out and touch them. It makes me feel like home. All anxiety just fades away.
[The Batman-esque view from Ontario & Dearborn]
Returning to Pittsburgh after any trip is never easy, especially when the trips are to Chicago. When I returned home this time I had something to look forward to. As you may have heard, the Dark Knight will be Rising in Pittsburgh this summer! Let me tell you, this makes coming home a little more promising.
[the new Gotham]
I actually get excited going through the tunnel and seeing the skyline, wondering what parts of Pittsburgh will become the new Gotham. I look forward to exploring the city, hunting down Christian Bale (in a non-stalker way), and getting the opportunity to enjoy a city that, at this point, I’ve been less than thrilled living in. Most importantly I hope to finally feel like I’m a little bit at home, even if home is an imaginary city named Gotham.
You can stay up to date on all Dark Knight Rises news here.