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Gotham City might well be the most famous city in all of comicdom. Rife with crime and corruption, not to mention violence, it is home to Bruce Wayne, Batman’s alter ego, and is arguably the most catastrophic city in the world.

Where it is… Although New Yorkers have long believed Gotham City to be an analogue of their city (Gotham has been a nickname for New York since the 1800s), readers have pondered over its exact location. Maps of the city in Commissioner Gordon’s office depict it as an island similar to Manhattan. In an interview, comic book writer, Denny O’Neill, said it is located in “Manhattan, below 14th street…”

Living in Gotham… Gotham is a Dickensian hellhole, as one writer calls it; in fact, how New York would have been without a planning commission. Skyscrapers tower above hospitals while buildings often encroach on spaces reserved for parks. However, after a 7.6 magnitude earthquake nearly destroyed Gotham in the Cataclysm story arc, Bruce Wayne has been using his influence to turn Gotham into a bright, vibrant and well-planned metropolis.

The Nightlife… Like New York, Gotham has some of the most vibrant nightlife on the north-eastern coast. The Iceberg Lounge is the trendiest spot for anyone with rich tastes, illicit interests and a yen for eccentric company (owned by the conniving Penguin, the nightclub features a pool where seals and penguins perform). The Gotham Theatre on Main Street is the city’s version of Broadway, while Gotham Square and Gotham Village (like New York’s Time Square and Greenwich Village respectively) are major crowd pullers.

‘Super’ dining venues… To hide his Batman identity, Bruce Wayne tries to give the impression he is a billionaire playboy by entertaining guests at posh hotels and restaurants such as The Ritz-Carlton or Fox Gardens. The city also boasts a slew of vendors selling falafels and hotdogs, while Luigi’s pizza on Main Street is a popular hangout, as is Wackdonals, a well-known fast-food joint.

In a nutshell… Dark and grimy, Gotham City continues to attract superheroes such as Superman and Spider-Man from time to time, who join forces with Batman to fight villains such as the Joker, Bane and the Riddler for control of the city; clearly that’s where its appeal lies.

– Shayan Shakeel
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First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on July 1, 2012.