OOOOF! SOCK! BANG! POW! WHAP! These are the sounds we all visualized in sunbursts on television back in the day when Adam West portrayed Batman. My fond memories of a child watching Batman take on all the evil villains made me so anxious and excited. As a child I knew Batman was always lurking around somewhere to save the day from evil and disaster. And like Santa Claus, I one day found out that Batman was only a figment of my imagination. I fast forward many decades and find myself eating a slice of pizza at Benny Tudino’s in the summer of 2009 and off in the distance I hear a horn honk and everyone around me jumps up and screams “BATMAN!!”
“Batman, What is this all about?”. I gaze over the parked cars on Washington Street and see a man dressed head to toe in a Batman costume and riding a bike custom outfitted to resemble the likeness of the old Bat mobile. I had one of those WTF moments, I was unsure of what to think. Who is this guy? With his horn honking and sirens blaring as he rode down the street, throngs of children were jumping up and down while adults were saluting this Batman.
My 1st sighting of Hoboken Batman came and went and the very next day I heard that horn and those sirens again and once again everyone went completely nuts and was cheering and high fiving the superhero. 2 years later I am one of those people who salutes Hoboken’s favorite super hero and iconic fixture of Washington Street.
At a recent April hMAG mixer at Louise and Jerry’s, I invited Batman who’s real name is Marlo Rodriguez of Weehawken to attend and speak with me about everything Hoboken Batman. He is not crazy, in fact he is all for going green and recycling, he is just grateful to be a citizen of our great country and being Batman is one of his ways to give back to the country that has so warmly welcomed him.
RC - “What made you want to one day dress up like Batman and ride the streets of Hoboken?”
Batman - “I grew up in Cuba as a child and always wanted to come to America. In Cuba I watched a lot of American TV and movies and listened to American radio and it really motivated me to one day live in America. When I was a teenager I saw the TV show “Batman” and I was hooked. After watching Batman, I became a huge fan of the show and wanted more than anything to one day live in America and enjoy what everyone else was enjoying.”
RC - How long have you been portraying Batman?
Batman – “I started being Batman about 4 years ago. For me, being Batman is my way of giving back to the country that as a child I dreamed of one day living in. The show itself made me more than ever want to live in America and now that I am here I ride the streets all the time to show my appreciation for the country that has so warmly welcomed me.”
RC – Nice bike Batman!! It must cost a lot of money?
Batman – No, I consider my myself a Green Batman. A lot of the bicycle is recycled. I bought the bike used for $60. Many of the fixtures on the bike are used that I either bought or found. My BAT PHONE is an old car phone, my keyboard on the side I found somewhere for free, my BAT water bottle I found for free and my battery pack that makes my sirens operate was bought for $5 at a garage sale. Even my lights on my bike are recycled.
RC – How much maintenance and upkeep is required to keep the BAT BIKE working?
Batman - I check the bike every week to make sure the lights, horns, brakes and sirens all work properly.
RC – Where is Robin?
Batman – (laughing as i ask the question) Robin is in Cuba. I have 5 brothers there, I am the eldest of the 6. My little brother Orlando, who is 28 is slated to be my Robin when he makes it to America. I will make a bike for him so he can ride with me. I have sent my family in Cuba many pictures of me and the bike and Orlando can’t wait to be my partner.
RC - When you are not Batman and helping keep Hoboken safe, what do you do?
Batman - I work as a massage therapist. I was recently employed as an assistant to a physical therapist but he closed so now I am looking for another place to utilize my services.
RC - Holy Jeepers Batman! Do you wear the suit and cape when giving a massage?
Batman - No
RC - What is your most memorable moment so far in Hoboken?
Batman – My favorite moments are when the police, fire department or ambulances need to make it around a corner or through an intersection and I am able to stop traffic to make sure they need to get to where they are going. Sometimes the police or firemen get on their PA systems and greet me as they ride by. The children in town are a huge motivation for me, I like to see the smiles on their faces when they meet me or take a picture with me. All of this combined keeps me doing what I do.
RC – Batman, the ladies in Hoboken must know, are you single?
Batman - I am married. I have been married to my wife Tami for 4 years no. Tami is my biggest supporter, she is my Bat Girl 24/7. She always tells me to “follow my dreams”. Her support is appreciated.
RC – You’re married? Do you have any children?
Batman – (slightly chuckling) LOL, no not yet.
RC - Where do you think you are most cheered for in town. Where do you think the majority of your fans are?
Batman – Between the Path train and 5th Street is where I get the most cheers and salutes from. All over town people wave to me or salute me but downtown I feel it is the strongest.
RC – Thank you for meeting with me
Batman – You are welcome