As time progresses, the line between fiction and reality continue to blur. Futuristic technology is in development that previously was confined to episodes of Star Trek. There are even Batmen on the patrol searching for scary clowns. It seems that many areas of fandom are slowly becoming real.
In a little over a week, Marvel Studios will open the doors to the secret world of magic and mysticism with Doctor Strange and is ready to welcome in their eager global audience. The movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, a first class surgeon whose life is turned upside down by injuries inflicted during a car accident. His search for a remedy sends him on a worldwide journey, on which he stumbles upon a hidden society that leads him to his true calling as the Sorcerer Supreme.
When Doctor Strange returns to his hometown of New York, he takes up residence at the Sanctum Sanctorum. A magical residence that has a direct connection with the supernatural forces that Strange has mastered. While other superheroes, such as Wonder Woman and Superman, have kept Themyscira and the Fortress of Solitude a secret all these years, apparently Doctor Strange forgot to cast a spell of invisibility over the internet. Because the Sanctum Sanctorum officially exists in the real world — according to Google Maps.
While this comes as a small surprise, it’s not altogether shocking. Marvel Comics, since its inception, has made an effort to emphasize that their heroes live in the real world, primarily New York City.
Peter Parker was from Forest Hills, Queens and Luke Cage has always been a fixture of the very real neighborhood of Harlem. Doctor Strange is a prime example of this, since his actual address of 177A Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village, has been known to comics fans for generations. While other publications’ superhero homes, such as the aforementioned DC Comics, typically existed in fictional realities whether that be Gotham City, or the hidden underwater city of Atlantis.
Strange’s secret hideout is much more complex than the average superhero hideout. As it’s essentially an enchanted mansion on the inside, while it’s unassuming exterior surely won’t kick up the property value. It’s home to numerous sacred and mystical artifacts, as well as a home base for both The Defenders and Avengers, at various times.
If you take a look at the street view of the Sanctum Sanctorum on Google Maps, it looks like an unassuming NY street. Next month comic book readers will be joined by millions of newly educated moviegoers, in uncovering Doctor Strange’s hidden lair. And for the people that live and work on that block, get ready to be hit with the magic of tourism and Marvel fandom.