Suddenly, the Grand Concourse is back in fashion. This is thanks to “Joker,” and the scene in which Arthur Fleck aka Joaquin Phoenix, dances jubilantly down the stairs on Shakespeare Avenue in the Bronx.
But you know, everything old is new again. Arthur Fleck wasn’t the first screen character to immortalize the steps on the Grand Concourse. Rhoda Morgenstern did it first, on October 28, 1974.
Rhoda, aka Valerie Harper, ran UP, not down, the big double stairs on the Concourse when Phyllis (Cloris Lindstrom) failed to pick her up for her wedding. Rhoda’s Wedding was as big a hit on TV as Joker is now in the movies. 52 million people watched that show, half the viewing audience for the night.
Remember? It’s a lot easier to go down then to come up those stairs, especially in a wedding gown and heels. Alas, Rhoda’s marriage to Joe was a disaster, and they divorced. But the episode remains one of the funniest and cleverest of all time. (And “Mary Tyler Moore” creator Jim Brooks rides the subway with Rhoda when she can’t find a cab.)