When Pamela Parker was growing up in Forest Hills, a neighborhood in Queens, New York, her family received many letters from around the world addressed to none other than “your neighborhood Spider-Man friend,” she says.
“We just thought it was a prank or something from a friend of ours,” Parker, 41, who now lives in Brooklyn, told Yahoo Life. Little did she know that her childhood home – at 20 Ingram Street – was something of a comic book landmark.
Peter Parker, the true identity of “Spider-Man”, a Queens-based superhero who first appeared in Marvel’s last issue in December 1961 amazing fantasy, was created by the late great Marvel writer Stan Lee. Although Lee stopped writing the character in early 1989, the June and July 1989 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man written by David Michelinie, displayed Parker’s home address as “20 Ingram Street”. (It’s unclear where the inspiration for including the address came from, though in a 2002 interview with The New York TimesLee clarified that he “never identified” Parker’s address to Michelinie.)
That same year, Parker’s family began receiving “stacks” of fan mail from boys and girls around the world – although it was pure coincidence that the people living in “Spider-Man’s house” shared the same last name as the comic book hero.
Further, The Queens’ Stand reported in 2002 that the Parkers’ longtime neighbor Terri Osborne (at 19 Ingram Street) shared a similar surname with Spider-Man’s nemesis Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin, played by Willem Dafoe in the 2002 film opposite Tobey Maguire.
It was the perfect example of life imitating art. Or was it the other way around?
Until the release of the first Spider Man movie, Parker says his family didn’t realize they shared the same address as their town’s local hero. “Once [the Tribune reporter Brendan Browne] cracked the deal, there was a whole media tour at that time to coincide with the movie, and then we started having a lot no more letters,” she recalls.
Needless to say, the film’s producers jumped at the chance to show off the wonderful coincidence – Osborne and Pamela’s mother, Suzanne, even made an appearance on CBS. First show before the film’s premiere in 2002, by The New York Times.
“We have tons of [mail]”, Pamela’s mother told the newspaper at the time. They also received wacky phone calls, which she attributed to a “teenage boy who thought it was funny that we had the same last name as Spider-Man.”
Meanwhile, Parker says her mother has responded to very few letters due to privacy concerns. And throughout her teenage years, it became “a really sweet story” that’s now part of the fabric of her childhood. Although she grew up an “X-men” fan, she’s since grown to love Peter, who in many ways is like an imaginary brother.
“I really appreciate that Spider-Man is a local hero,” she says. “I became a Spider-Man fan. One of the really nice things about this superhero is that unlike other superheroes, he comes from a real place.
While the city has yet to name 20 Ingram Street an official landmark, last year a Queens resident named Larry Ng launched a campaign to erect a statue of Spider-Man in the area, depicting the super -hero hanging from a lamppost at the intersections of Ditko and Lee (for Stan Lee and co-creator Steve Ditko).
Unfortunately, Disney ran into trouble with the creative license handover, so Ng’s plans were cut short.
“They are very protective of their intellectual property,” Ng said. hell gatea local campaign publication that received hundreds of signatures from Queens residents.
Pamela’s family moved out of 20 Ingram Street in 2017, after which her parents gave her the many fan letters they had collected over nearly three decades. Parker has since donated it to the City Reliquary, a nonprofit community museum and civic organization in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which celebrates New York’s “local heroes” and “offbeat histories.”
“I’m glad they’re public and especially to donate the collection to the City Reliquary, which is a really wonderful place to visit,” says Parker, who is also a member of the museum’s board of trustees. “It’s also a great way to [the letters] participate in a bit of civic pride,” as their local superhero would have liked.
“The collection is an incredible example of serendipity and so-called coincidence,” museum founder Dave Herman told Yahoo Life. (For anyone in the area, the “Letters to Spiderman” collection will be on display through April 2, with select images available here.) Address of the Parker family for use in their historical comics. In doing so, they allowed real-life Parkers to create an archive of appreciation for our local superhero.
“Spider-Man exemplifies the spirit of a true New Yorker, one of courage and determination, always ready to support and protect his fellow citizens,” says Herman, adding that “in a post-9/11 world, the super -hero” exemplified the spirit of unity among New Yorkers” as he struggled to protect the city – as evidenced by a particular line from the 2002 film when a New York native yelled at the Green Goblin from 59th Street Bridge: “You’re kidding one of us, you’re kidding us all!
For Parker, the museum is the perfect home for a superhero like Spider-Man, who she says continues to inspire other local heroes to do the right thing.
“Start with a place of civic pride,” she advises budding young heroes. “It’s always going to prepare you to keep an eye on what’s going on around you – and look for ways to help others.”
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