16.9.11

By the Vishanti! It's Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum!

"By the shades of the Seraphim and the hoary hosts of Hoggoth! By the omnipotence of Oshtur and the all-seeing Eye of Agamotto! In the name of the Vishanti three . . . reveal the light of truth to me!"

If you understood any of that, then you're probably well acquainted with Marvel Comics' Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme. Dr. Stephen Strange first appeared in Strange Tales #110 in 1963 and has appeared in thousands of comics since.

Despite having read comic books for years, I only first took notice of the Sorcerer Supreme in the early '90s through his trading card and as a key player in The Infinity Gauntlet series. Strange you might say . . . perhaps, but not really when one considers the good Doctor's status as the Master of the Mystic Arts - a mastery that includes astral projection, levitation and other occult powers for protection and camouflage.


Take for example, Strange's abode, the Sanctum Sanctorum (latin for 'holiest of holy places') located at 177a Bleecker St. in New York City. Said to be the "Nexus Of All Realities" within the Marvel Universe (one of several, if that makes any sense), the Greenwich Village apartment house in recent years has been mystically cloaked to appear as a dilapidated revenent with a banner reading Another Neighborhood Starbucks Coming Soon! hanging over the front door.

In our reality, 177 Bleecker St. is the shared address of a Pinkberry frozen yogurt shop, a tattoo parlor and squeezed in between, almost invisible under a white awning, the entrance to the apartments located above. There are a few other online resources that have pointed out this address in relation to the good Doctor, the Strange-dedicated fansite Neilalien.com for example, but I thought I'd share a few photos I'd managed to take during my last visit to NYC:


The building itself (seen here at the corner of Bleecker and Sullivan Sts.) looks to be in remarkably excellent shape, but then New York has enjoyed quite a bit of urban rejuvenation lately, so it had most likely undergone some restoration in recent years.


Here's a shot of the Pinkberry and the white awning over the apartment entrance with "177" on the front.


Deciding to get a little closer, I was rewarded with the sight of this beautiful frosted transom sporting the full street address. While not the Anomaly Rue (the mystic "Window of the Worlds" depicting the Seal of the Vishanti), the bordering banner scrolls immediately reminded me of the voluminous folds of Strange's Cloak of Levitation.


As amazing as that transom was, though, this was the pièce de résistance. Here, finally, was solid evidence of 177a Bleecker St., right there on the first button of the intercom. A button that looks as if it's been pushed by more than one Dr. Strange fan in its day. I was tempted, but decided it was better not to risk distracting the Sorcerer Supreme while he could very well be saving our entire plane of existence from the extra-dimensional depredations of Baron Mordo, Nightmare or even the dread Dormammu himself!

For more information on Doctor Strange, I suggest checking out the excellently written Lesser Book of the Vishanti by Catherine Yronwode and, of course, Marvel Comics.

For more information on 177 Bleecker Street, visit the Greenwich Village Society For Historic Preservation.

-DE

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