Letters to the “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” have found a home for the first time in a small museum called City Reliquary in Williamsburg, Brooklyn until April 2. These letters were originally sent to 20 Ingram St. in Forest Hills, N.Y., an address in Queens that was shown as Peter Parker’s in one issue of the Spider-Man Marvel Comics.
A real family, ironically named the Parkers, had been living in that house since 1974. According to Yahoo News, the home’s connection to the famed superhero goes even deeper. Their longtime neighbor, Terri Osborne, shared a last name with Spider-Man’s archenemy Norman Osborn.
According to the news site Hell Gate, after the release of issue #317 of “The Amazing Spider-Man” series in 1989, their home was put on the map.
Pamela Parker, the daughter who grew up in the Forest Hills home, told the NY Times that there were some letters sent throughout the 90s but with the release of “Spider-Man” in 2002, their mailbox became flooded with letters from children who were great admirers of Spider-Man.
“I think Spider-Man resonates with young adults because they are generally powerless in this world and Peter Parker represents this sudden acquisition of power to change things for the better,” said Prof. Gregory Golda, a professor in the School of Communication, Media, and the Arts. “And as young adults mature and take on more responsibilities, they can relate to what Peter Parker is going through.”
The family, despite being unaware of their home’s superhero connections initially, quickly grew quite fond of the letters and collected them for nearly three decades.
These letters were not only written from across the US but also spanned the globe. According to Hell Gate, some letters were written by children in Switzerland, India, Austria and Germany. One child wrote, “I live in Lausanne (Switzerland) and I would like to know if you plan to come to Europe soon.”
“Spider-Man just feels so much more accessible than other superheroes because even though in the story he is in New York, to a kid it may not just be New York,” said freshman Wren Campise.
“It’s just that he’s in that one area so kids know they can reach him. He’s there and dependable.”
According to Hell Gate, one child from Germany even sent a care package to the home containing miscellaneous items such as sour chewing gum, horse stickers and a €0.01 coin.
Another child wrote, “I’m Sammy, I am 4 years old, and I am a big boy like you. You are doing great, saving people, you don’t die when you do it. I love you!”
Letters were not the only items finding their way to the Parker home and on display at the City Reliquary. They also received junk mail directed to Peter Parker, one inviting him to activate a DISCOVER card.
The Parkers’ moved out of their 20 Ingram St. home in 2017, gifting the collection to their daughter Pamela Parker. Parker donated the heartwarming letters to the City Reliquary which celebrates local heroes and unconventional stories, according to Yahoo News.
“Spider-Man is relatable. He’s young, kind of awkward, smart, and just overall extremely nice,” said sophomore Vice President of Film Club, Kate Fleissner. “He helps around the community in small ways, even saving a cat from a tree.”
Spider-Man is an important character in Forest Hill’s community, reported Hell Gate. One local, Larry Ng, even started a campaign to place a statue for the hero in the area but the Disney Company objected.
“Spider-Man is every bit as iconic as Mickey Mouse or the Wizard of Oz. So, he’s a great cultural touchstone,” said Golda.