Do We Live in "Gotham City"?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

City Council Member Hiram Monserrate tells us why he wants New York City to adopt "Gotham City" as the official nickname, and Mike Wallace, director of Gotham Center for New York City History, gives us the backstory on some of New York's best-known, and lesser-known, monikers. What do you think should be New York's official nickname? We'll open the phones to hear your favorite (and not-so-favorite) NYC monikers.


Hiram Monserrate and Mike Wallace

Comments [48]

figa from Brooklyn

If NYC is going to do commercial tie-ins, we should auction the nickname. With apologies to David Foster Wallace, I'll be proud to live in "The City of the Depend Adult Undergarment" or "The City of the Tucks Medicated Pad". Both are better products than the Batman movie franchise.

Mar. 27 2008 01:13 PM
George Pataki

Gotham applies, so does big apple, and metropolis, as well as several others. However Metropolis, and Gotham will never be exclusive to New York. Metropolis is based on Toronto, but useful in describing any bustling city, like Gotham is useful in referring to any fast paced ruthless city. Both exist in New York, Chicago, Detroit, London, Paris and so on.

Mar. 26 2008 07:29 PM
Artis Q from Harlem

Lighten up people! "Big Apple" is way too corny and 1950's- ish. My vote is for "Gotham."

Mar. 26 2008 11:41 AM

I hate to rain on the parade, but there is a New York City in the DC Universe. Brian didn't take my call so I have to post here. Nightwing (formerly the original Robin) is patrolling it.

And the makers of the Batman movie are using Chicago to film.

And, who is our Joker? Hillary's hair style and make up make her look like the Joker?

Who is our Catwoman? David Patterson's wife?

Who is our Bane? Our Penguin? Our Firefly? Our Killer Croc?

Bloomberg is short so he may make a good Mad Hatter.

Don't know who could be the Riddler?

Mar. 26 2008 11:19 AM
Jim from Brooklyn

A few points on previous comments;
1. New York was Gotham long before there was a Batman.
2. Gotham City - not Gotham- is where Batman lives.
3. Chicago has never been assoicated with Gotham or Gotham City
4. Chicago is the Big Onion per my previous comment, and in response to New York being the Big Apple.

Mar. 26 2008 11:18 AM

Will having an official nickname really make our city more marketable to tourists? Maybe, but not "Gotham."

Who is thus nutjob, anyway? A big Batman fanatic bent on sticking our town with a dumb moniker in the hopes of riding a the wave of a summer blockbuster. You've gotta be kidding me.

Mar. 26 2008 11:01 AM

Big Onion should be Walla Walla, Washington for obvious reasons (at least it's obvious for those of us originally from the West Coast.) Much like Gilroy, CA is identified with Garlic. Walla Walla is identified with onions, some of the best tasting, sweetest onions you'll ever eat.

Mar. 26 2008 11:00 AM

The fact that this moron is spending time on this is a bigger scandal than Spitzer going to prostitutes

Bloomberg...reminds him of Batman????????


Mar. 26 2008 10:59 AM
Lynne Kanter from Live in Soho, work in Midtown

Not everyone from the outer boroughs refer to Manhattan as the City. In the Bronx, we said "Downtown".
So there!

Mar. 26 2008 10:58 AM
Jim Harvey from Brooklyn

Soemone suggested the Big Onion, but Chicago has had that all of my life. It comes from the wild onion fields on which Chicago was built and Chicgo means place of the bad smell.

Mar. 26 2008 10:58 AM
Robert from NYC

Okay then, he's a NYC bonehead!! We have them too.

Mar. 26 2008 10:58 AM
Jean from New Jersey

I agree with the previous caller, I think of DARK, WET and UGLY! Plus I am not a batman fan. In New Jersey (right on the Hudson) we always said "let's go to the city"!

Mar. 26 2008 10:58 AM
TM from Brooklyn

1) Brian, you're a Yankee fan. You don't get a vote on whether the Mets' apple moves to the new CitiField. I LOVE our tacky apple!

2) Since when do New Yorkers respond well to these kinds of impositions? If we did, we would all be saying "Avenue of the Americas" instead of Sixth Avenue.

Mar. 26 2008 10:58 AM
LFC from Midtown

I'm guessing the councilman's working for Warner Bros/Time Warner (owner of the comic book)?

Mar. 26 2008 10:56 AM
Norman from Nolita

Can Mr. Wallace explain the origin of the NYC nickname "Frog & Toe"?

Mar. 26 2008 10:56 AM
Eric from B'klyn


Mar. 26 2008 10:55 AM
bruce wayne from gotham slope

Brian the councilman should know if he is a Batman
fan, Gotham City in the comics is not new york. In dc comics gotham is a city that exists alongside new york as well as metropolis and star city..

Mar. 26 2008 10:55 AM
Ian from Manhattan

We should let Chicago have the "Gotham City" mantle. It sounds better than "The Second City". And, I've always thought that Batman's "Gotham" really looked more like Chicago.

Mar. 26 2008 10:53 AM

Holy idiotic segments,Batman! What's happening to NPR!???

Mar. 26 2008 10:53 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Not interested unless someone proposes changing the name to "Republic of..."

Mar. 26 2008 10:52 AM
Telegram Sam from Staten Island

"Gotham," in Batman and elsewhere, is NOT a nice place to visit or live. This putz of a councilman can't even read a comic book correctly. Why is he spending even a second of his day thinking about this while the city teeters on the brink of economic disaster?

Mar. 26 2008 10:52 AM

This is as stupid as that moron who wanted to ban feeding the pigeons

Mar. 26 2008 10:50 AM
rick from brooklyn

another opportunistic jackass city councilman. what else is new?

Mar. 26 2008 10:50 AM

I hate to rain on the parade. But there is a New York City in the DC Universe. Nightwing (formerly Robin) lives and patrols New York. So it's a non starter.

And, who are our Penguin, Joker, Bane and Catwoman?

Mar. 26 2008 10:50 AM
axle from NYC

Chicago is Gotham City in the new and previous Batman movie, both movies were film there

Mar. 26 2008 10:50 AM
Ben from midtown (sadly)

Official nicknames are patently absurd. New York like all great cities in history are named by the people who the city affects. Constantinople comes to mind: "Nova Roma" didn't work as well as "Constantine's City" which, it turns out, didn't work as well as "[to] The City". New York is also The City. Everyone knows Gotham is New York. Let's not kill it with an official marketing tool. This councilman sounds like an official marketing tool in his own right.

Mar. 26 2008 10:50 AM
Leo from NYC

It has been said that Gotham is New York below 14th street after midnight, and Metropolis is New York above 14th at noon

Mar. 26 2008 10:50 AM
cache from nyc

you have got to be kidding. who cares about this drivel? maybe Hiram needs to investigate a new job, say at disneyland...

Mar. 26 2008 10:50 AM

Your guest says when we think of Gotham city we also think of nightlife

Noooo....I think of Batman and the Joker and a dystopian city infested with crime....

Mar. 26 2008 10:49 AM
Dave Frank from Manhattan

Is this an early April Fool's segment? Brian - you cut short an important and impactive congestion pricing segment for this pathetic issue? This councilman needs to not be reelected, along with a severe reality check.

Mar. 26 2008 10:48 AM
LFC from Midtown

This is a joke right? He's a joke right?

Mar. 26 2008 10:48 AM
Susan Gempler from Bergen County NJ

I know we all need some fun, but this is absurd. All the problems the City has and he wastes his time with this? Is he being paid to advertise the movie Batman?

Mar. 26 2008 10:48 AM
Leo from NYC

As a huge comic book fan, I can certainly that you don't want to be associated with the darkest, dankest and highest crime city in the comic book world. Metropolis maybe... (BTW - It is never established in the comics exactly where it is except that it's on the east coast somewhere. New York does exist in the DC universe so it would "inaccurate" to confuse the two.)

But seriously, I have seen two dead homeless people on the subway in one month -- isn't there something actually important we could be working on..?

Mar. 26 2008 10:48 AM
Robert from NYC

Is this guy a native Newyorker? Usually the boneheads who come here from the mid-west get these stupidities in their heads.

Mar. 26 2008 10:48 AM

meant to say "or even relevant?"

Mar. 26 2008 10:47 AM
Ethan from Upper West Side

An "official" nickname? A nickname, by nature, is informal. It should "evolve" and just work its way in to the fabric of everyday usage. It's too self-conscious to debate the adoption of an official nickname for New York City. Let other, lesser cities waste their time with such silliness. We've got better things to do here in our town.

Mar. 26 2008 10:47 AM
a woman from manhattan

Why not just have our nickname be "The City"? That's what everyone who doesn't live here (in Queens and Long Island) call it!

Mar. 26 2008 10:47 AM

It's the big freakin' apple.
So can you ask how much money is being spent on this?

Hey I'm a fan of Batman too and everyone knows Gotham was based on New York....but...uh...aren't we the Big Apple? Is this important or even important? Do we need NYC to be involved in marketing for the movie industry? This is ridiculous...

Mar. 26 2008 10:46 AM
a woman from manhattan

In the television series, a shot of the Gotham City Opera House was actually a shot of the Paris Opera (in France).

So maybe Paris should be Gotham City.

And anyway, how many more tourists can our city handle! We're already busting at the seams!

Mar. 26 2008 10:45 AM
Ed from Metropolis

New York is Metropolis. Chicago is Gotham City.

Mar. 26 2008 10:45 AM

NOT GOTHAM CITY! Gotham City is too gritty and dark. I am not a 12 year old boy (or man stuck in his childhood) and don't want to live in Gotham City.

We're The Big Apple.

Mar. 26 2008 10:45 AM
Carlo Altomare from Manhattan

Ridiculous. Why do they waste their time with this stupidity. Batman fanchise partnership? New York is THE City. The City. That's it!

Mar. 26 2008 10:44 AM

I would rather have him have sex with prostitutes then pay him for thinking about this. I not even going to tackle what gotham brings to peoples minds. This is just stupid and he is stupid. Thank god for term limits.

Mar. 26 2008 10:11 AM
Robert from NYC

Chicago always comes to mind when I hear the term Gotham City. That said, I agree with Glenn, we are wasting money on paying this guy to do this. How sad is that!

Mar. 26 2008 10:08 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

I will only accept Gotham City if we get an official Batman mascot who will also take up the cause of fighting crime around the city... including stopping super villains. We have a growing super villain problem in this city that Bloomberg chooses to look the other way on.

Mar. 26 2008 09:57 AM
Charles from Brooklyn

NYC is the big apple. It's not "The world's second home," or something else. I know Council member Hiram Monserrate is a former marine, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for bringing up a trivial point at a time of serious issues. When I think of Gotham, I think of Batman's fight for justice. Lets start by supporting our police, and stopping violent crimes in our metropolis.

Mar. 26 2008 08:57 AM
Laura from Brooklyn

Gotham is too "Batman" and pretty ridiculous.

Plus, it doesn't translate well into other languages and accents. (Got ham?)

I vote for Big Apple... or the five boroughs. Come on, New York is "so nice they named it twice," why do we need an alternate name?

Mar. 26 2008 07:44 AM
Glenn from Manhattan

Are we paying this councilman to waste his time with this? The 'Big Apple' refers to the Jazz capital of all the other 'apples'. Since jazz is America's true artform, sorry to be so cliche, Big Apple is the mother of all monikers. Gotham is just too 'dark' and cartoonish for me.

Mar. 26 2008 12:39 AM

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