Hello and thank you for choosing 616 Tours. My name is Peter Parker and, since this is the only job I could get besides the Bugle, I’ll be your guide today as we explore the finest and sometimes weirdest Manhattan has to offer.
With that being said, if you look to your left you’ll see our first stop on the tour: The Baxter Building, home to the world famous Fantastic Four (Located on 42nd Street and Madison Avenue). Built in 1949 by the Leland Baxter Paper Company, the Baxter Building was originally used to print paper materials and was rented out to Stretchy –err, I mean Reed Richards in the early ‘60’s. Utilizing the first five floors Richards began to redecorate the place in his own brainy image; building vast laboratories that housed tons of lab equipment, techno gizmos and strange portals to who-knows-what dimensions. As is de rigor of superherodom, once the Richards revealed that the top 5 floors were home to the FF, supervillains the world over began to target and destroy the building to serve their nefarious deeds, but mostly because the FF didn’t share their Girl Scout cookies. So to placate their long suffering landlord Walter Collins, Richards bought the entire building in 1982 and is now the official headquarters of America’s first abnormally powered family. The Baxter Building does take requests for those in need of superhero aid, yet be prepared to make an appointment and wait years in advance as the FF are swamped in petitions. So if you are being chased my Morbius the Living Vampire or a cadre of Sentinels, your best bet would be to seek help elsewhere (believe me I’ve tried).
Moving on, stop two is the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning (formerly Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters). The brain child of mutant-rights advocate Professor Charles Xavier, the controversial school was founded as a means to not only take on young mutants and train them to hone their powers for good, but to also serve as a springboard to teach our society the positive impacts of those termed “mutants”. After the original school was destroyed by rouge Sentinels, current headmaster Logan rebuilt the school to its former glory and renamed it in honor of fallen X-Member Jean Grey.
Next up is Stark Tower, owned by Iron Man himself Tony Stark and new home to The Avengers team. Built over the course of 4 years, Stark Tower was to be the cream of the crop in business architecture. Yet no one wanted to open up shop here due to their fear that, since Stark was Iron Man, the building would be bombarded and destroyed by supervillians time and again. Stark then decided he would convert the top floors into his bachelor pad where he could frolic naked with as many Playboy Bunnies as he wanted to. But after the Avenger’s Mansion was destroyed at the hands of the Scarlett Witch, old Shell Head decided to sacrifice bunga-bunga time and set up Avengers HQ there instead. The Avengers team now resides here full-time in state of the art living quarters where the toilets are made of gold and the toilet paper is triple-ply made straight from the manufacturer in China (Mmmm, so soft).
If you look to your right you’ll see lawyer Matt Murdock taking a stroll through Hell’s Kitchen on his way to work. See those not very pleasant looking office buildings right head? Those are the law offices of Nelson and Murdock who work tirelessly to bring justice to an unjust neighborhood. Formed by Mr. Murdock and fellow lawyer and friend Franklin “Foggy” Nelson after they graduated from Harvard Law School, the firm has been in successive business for over 20 years. Seemingly always in the headlines, the firm tackles not only high profile cases but also those of citizens who are on their last rung, running from an enemy that is all powerful yet surprisingly vulnerable. It is these vulnerabilities that Nelson and Murdock exploit and reveal; their wins to losses ratio is roughly 80/20. If you should ever find yourself on the run from the Kingpins of the underworld, Nelson and Murdock are your best bet.
Now we reach the creepy part of the tour as you can see by the giant gothic looking building that seems to be straight out of a Dracula movie. Boarded up and seemingly abandoned, the Sanctum Santorum is actually the dwelling of Doctor Stephen Strange S.S. (Sorcerer Supreme). If you ever find yourself inside (and we all eventually find our way in there) you would do well to notice that while the place looks modestly sized on the outside, its freaking huge on the inside! I’m talking Louvre size here! Why a man who dabbles in the mystic arts and his man servant need so many rooms is beyond me, but then again this is a world where people shoot lasers out of their eyes so what the hell do I know. As I was saying, Dr. Strange knows his mumbo jumbo and if someone ever put a hex on you for not calling them the next day you know who to see. Let’s move on, this place gives me the creeps.
Last stop is a place that is close to my heart. That is f my heart were set aflame and buried under six feet of Hulk and Thing poo. The Daily Bugle produces the DB Newspaper where I work as a freelance photographer for old skinflint J. Jonah Jameson Jr.; if you could call it work (he rejects half of my output). While the DB is a bit biased on their Spider-Man coverage (he’s really a good guy. Really!), I have to admit that JJJJ does run a tight ship and a good, sometimes readable newspaper. If you do decide to go in and visit, avoid the hours between noon and three as they are the busiest of the day and JJJJ always leaves his chill pills at home. Actually also avoid the hours between 8 and 11 AM as JJJJ is also in a bad mood then. Actually… you know what? Just do yourself a favor and don’t visit!
Ok that marks the end of the tour! I’m leaving you at the coolest place every teenager in the know hangs out at; The Coffee Bean! Inside you’ll find the best cup of Joe this side of Seattle and a gift shop that carries superhero tee shirts and bubbleheads. If you tell ‘em Parker sent ya, you get a 3% discount, so don’t ever say I never did anything for you. Enjoy your stay in Mighty Manhattan.