In the 317th issue of Marvel Comics’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” released in July 1989, Peter Parker’s nemesis, Venom, arrives at his house in Queens, New York, ready to do battle with the young superhero. That Venom managed to locate Spider-Man at his actual residence, where he lives with his Aunt May, is no surprise: Peter had left behind a change-of-address form in his jacket after changing into his Spider-Man suit. His new home was at 20 Ingram Street, Forest Hills, NY 11375.
And it’s a real address. Though depicted as a two-story boarding house in the comic book, the real-life 20 Ingram Street is a modest Tudor house in suburban Queens, shaded by a panoply of trees. Even more serendipitously, from 1974, the house has been occupied by a Parker family—Andrew, Suzanne, and their two daughters.
Since the publication of Spider-Man’s address, the Parkers have been inundated with mail addressed to the web-slinger. “We got tons of it,” Mrs. Parker told the New York Times in 2002. The family had no clue about the comic-book significance of their address until they were approached by reporters in 2002, when Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” adaptation hit theaters.
Nonetheless, the Parkers saved the letters they received over the decades—a trove that is now on view at City Reliquary, a community museum in Brooklyn that houses ephemera from New York’s history.
Unsurprisingly, most of the letters were penned by children eager to reach out to the comic book star. “I think your really cool,” reads one message; “I like how you swing,” reads another. Others urge Spider-Man to visit their homes: “Would you like to come to our house some time in summer? We live in Kentucky.”
Letters were sent from across the globe—Germany, Switzerland, Thailand—as well as curious artifacts, including candy, credit card approvals, and a check for $1,645 (which Suzanne Parker apparently cashed).
Pamela Parker, daughter of Andrew and Suzanne, and a board member at City Reliquary, told Hell Gate that her favorite letter arrived from South India, reading: “We would love to imitate you… but we know very well that happens only in reel life and not so in real life.”
Some young fans also sought solace in their favorite web-slinger. “To Amazing Spiderman,” wrote a young fan named Clay, “I’m the awesome one but a secret nerd.”
When Hell Gate located Clay, now grown up and studying at the University of Tennessee, he said Spider-Man “helped me cope through the hard times as a kid.”
While the Parker family moved out of 20 Ingram Street in 2017, the house and its suburb remain a landmark for comic-book readers. Last year, a campaign was launched, though failed, to erect a Spider-Man statue in Forest Hills.
“I never pinpointed the address,” said Stan Lee, the late-creator of Spider-Man, in 2002. But with the reveal of Spider-Man’s residence, he added, “We’ve created two new celebrities.”
“Dear Spiderman” is on view in the front room of City Reliquary, 370 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn.