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The Rough Guide to Gotham City

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From the desk of Mayor Linseed.

Congratulations on your decision to vacation in Gotham City! I'd like to welcome you on behalf of the city council to ██████████ State's most vibrant metropolis. We're confident that you'll find your stay provides all the excitement you can stand and so I was delighted to write the foreword to this joint venture with The Rough Guide series of travel guides.

While you're here you can enjoy our rich culture, party with Gotham's high society, visit our scenic sea-front or just enjoy all that a bustling urban environment can offer. Surely Gotham City is the most under-rated tourist venue in the USA, if not the world.

As they say in these parts "Gotham - it'll slay you!"

John Linseed


Gotham City accepts no responsibility for injury or death suffered at the hands of supervillains.

Gotham's Cultural Life

CCTV still of unknown suspect during break-in at Gotham City Museum.

Gore Vidal once said that Gotham had no culture outside its yoghurt factory, but what does he know? We have culture crawling out of our ass and no visitor should miss visiting at least one of our many purpose-built cultural centers:

  • Gotham City Museum

Did you know that Gotham City was founded in 1685 when Norwegian mercenary, Lars Bohinen, crashed his ship, "The Sjnik" into Gotham bay while chasing a Sperm whale? Well, Gotham City Museum has (a replica of) the elephant seal he married in the lonely mid-Atlantic passage and you can have your picture taken with it while enjoying a modestly priced plate of Swedish meatballs in our cafeteria just like Lars would have done, if he'd been Swedish.

$35 buys you a family ticket to one of the nation's largest collections of dinosaur skeletons (some of them from real dinosaurs killed by our own Batman), a spectacular display of native American crafts, and artifacts from the earliest days of Gotham's European settlement such as Sir Danvers Breville-Toaster's wife-screw and George Washington's Klan robes.

Yes, Gotham City Museum is a must see kind of a place.

{Note. The Egyptian exhibition and Medieval torture dungeon are temporarily closed following the theft of Tutankhamen's gold and some fatal, unauthorized Iron Maiden usage. Chief O'Hara promises to complete his investigation swiftly and appeals to the public to be on the look-out for a man in a green suit covered with question marks.}

"Smile and the World Smiles with You": A study in black and white.
  • Gotham City Art Museum

Gotham City Art Museum houses a collection of Modern and Renaissance masterpieces in its secure vaults and displays convincing copies of them across eight, spacious floors. You can take in realistic renderings of Vermeer's "Goth with a pearl nose-ring", Rembrandt's "The Bay Watch", Da Vinci's "Fish Supper", and Munch's "The Whinge".

For a limited period, you can enjoy the entrants to this year's 'Open Art Competition' which are displayed in the Wayne Wing and include the widely admired winning-entry "Smile and the world smiles with you" a self-portrait by the previously unknown, Mr Joe Kerr.

  • Madame Soleil's Wax Museum

How can I describe Madame Soleil's Wax museum in mere words?

I can't so I'll let just a few of last season's happy visitors share their impressions.

"The resemblance between the wax-figures and the real-life celebrities was so close that sometimes you hardly have to read the label to see who they are!" - Paul Chamberlain from Idaho.

"The chamber of horrors is terrifying! After our experience at Madame Soleil's my kids have begged me never to take them back." Kevin Shrimpton, Nebraska.

"The waxy lifelessness of the figures in "History's Greatest Men" really brought home just how dead some of those guys are." Julian Prime, Missouri.

Batman figure unavailable due to melting. Police urge the public not to approach any suspect armed with a heat-ray.

  • The Wayne Philosophy lectures
The University's clock tower is open to the public and offers breathtaking views of the downtown area.

Open to the public and available free every second Thursday of the month, the Charles Wayne memorial philosophy lectures are delivered at Gotham City University by esteemed Professor of Philosophy, Prof. E. Nigma, and are sure to leave you asking "Why am I here?"

  • Gotham City Performing-Arts Exhibition Center

If you're a right-thinking patriot you'll know that the Performing Arts are Unamerican, but don't worry. Gotham City Performing-Arts Center also contains the unique experience of "Ribs 'n Rifles", where you can dine in style among fifteen aisles of the latest in automatic and semi-automatic weaponry. And while you're exercising your constitutional rights the missus can drag your kids around one of the more "European" attractions.

Gotham City's Exchange Theater is world renowned and recently received a glowing recommendation from "American Insomniac" magazine. So sit back in the deepest, most comfortable seats on the Eastern seaboard and catch a performance from Gotham's Shakespeare Society, currently in the midst of a three month run of Henry VI parts I to CXIII.

"A laugh, a cry, a credit card bill to remember your stay by." - "Theater Review, September, 2009"

Those of you with a fuller figure may find some comfort from Gotham City Operatic Society's version of the Threepenny Opera, Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's grin-a-minute Marxist critique of the capitalist world.

Prices vary but may exceed three pennies

Every night is Hooters Night at Harley Quinn's exotic dance club.

If dance is your thing Gotham City's "Ballet and Burlesque" allows you to take your choice of entertainment from the terpsichorean world. Watch anorexic chicks tippy-toe across the stage pursued by Mommy's boys with socks stuffed in their pants as they bring you the story of dying waterfowl through the gift of dance. Or, for the same price, you can enjoy a bellyful of beer and take in some livelier action from gals with a fuller rack rotating their way around a pole near you, and still have change enough to pay one to make herself comfortable on your lap.

Gotham's Grand Ole Opry may not be grand or old and sure ain't Opry but we've scoured Dixie for the most in-bred yodelers and six-fingered, fiddle-playing retards to bring you the very best in Country. Tickets begin at three piglets (Concessions: five chickens) and your first slug of moonshine is free when you present your stub at the bar. And for the talented amateur open mic night every Wednesday allows you to spank your banjo in public to enthusiastic applause from curious on-lookers.

Country & Western music and / or Moonshine may cause nausea.

And if all that's too much excitement for one day you may like to find some time quiet contemplation at one of Gotham's two cathedrals.

Not so sure that God exists? Seek out people of a like mind at the stunning St. Thomas of the Divine Doubt Episcopalian Cathedral right in the heart of the city, where guys dressed as dames wear funny hats all year round as they struggle with their faith. It's a hoot!

Or alternatively, on the very city limit you can find the Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady the blessed Virgin set among thirty acres of beautiful gardens, maintained by a small army of elderly nuns. As Robin once said "Holy Mother of God, Batman, that's a big churchyard!"

The Waterfront

The start of the Batman trail, Gotham Docks.

With miles of coastline including secluded bays and fragrant harbors, Gotham County is a marine heaven free of toxic-algal blooms for a record eight months in 2008. There's a lot more to Gotham than just Batman but while you're in the city you can take part in our specially constructed Batman trail as you visit the waterfront, scene of many of his confrontations with the bad guys of the past.

  • The Historic Docks

Built by the British in colonial times, the docklands have a mixture of working wharfs, bars, shops and entertainments for all visitors. Pick up an entry form from (a guy dressed as) Batman on the wharf and see how many clues you can spot as you follow the 'Bat-trail' around what was once a veritable den of vice but is now one of America's premier attractions. And while you're playing detective, why not take a walk on the wildside and pop in for a tattoo at "Septicemia Inc.", or scratch that itch at "Aunt Chlamydia's", the only legal brothel outside Nevada. Now offering a 2-for-1 Summer BJ-bonanza.

  • Mr Freeze Frozen Food

How many cities can offer you icebergs in July? Chillibits docks, home to Gotham's own Mr Freeze Frozen Food Co., offers all year round Arctic conditions with a steady sea temperature of 4oC and a slowly advancing glacier. Brrr, no swimming here!

Once the scene of an attempt to clad the whole city in an ice-sheet, these days Mr Freeze is more interested in chilling fish fingers - Holy Mackerel, that's what I call a reformed character!

  • Pleasure Cruises

Head for more temperate waters in a purpose built sight-seeing cruiser. Starting with a trip to Blackgate Island where you'll see the stern edifice of Blackgate Maximum Security Penitentiary. But don't expect to say hello to any of the multitude of supervillains that have passed through this imposing institution, they've all been safely reintegrated into society.

Gotham Tourist Board cannot guarantee the veracity of this statement at any time.

Moving back towards land, you pass the wreck of SS Gotham Queen, cruelly beached on its maiden voyage following unexplained Phony Island lighthouse-failure. Thanks to Batman's timely intervention no passengers were injured, though jewellery worth an estimated $26 million mysteriously disappeared. Then it's into Ambergris Bay where millionaire's moor their yachts but the rest of us go to enjoy the "Amusement Mile", where bandits of the one-armed variety can relieve us of our money without worrying Commissioner Gordon.

Gotham's nightly laser show attracts visitors from across the state, often in jet-powered cars.


Some have described Gotham's skyline as brooding, some even as forbidding. We prefer moody and magnificent and it's at its best during the nightly son-et-lumiere. See Wayne Tower and a multitude of other skyscrapers lit up with the city's unique (if strangely dental) Bat-sign to the atmospheric accompaniment of squealing rubber and the wailing of sirens. You'll love it. Most nights you can take in a veritable costume-parade of the city's characters and a lucky few may catch Batman himself handing them over to Commissioner Gordon, or chasing Killer-moths through the night-sky in the Bat-copter. Metropolis may have a y-front wearing Super-dork but what other city on Earth can offer you such a wide range of supervillainry?

For those with a more relaxed evening in mind, Gotham has bars and clubs for every taste;

Just some of the colorful characters you may see in one of Gotham's famous costume parades.

A glitzy night is guaranteed at the "Peregrinator Club". This male bastion, traditionally harder to gain entry to than Gotham City Bank, is now open to the public every Thursday for Ladies' night. So just flash a smile and some diamonds at the doorman and make sure you lock them securely away in the club-safe and enjoy an evening of sophistication in a beautiful setting.

In his excellent book, "Massage from America - an Englishman's search for pleasure in the New World", Limey sophisticate, Alistair Cooke, wrote "In my quest for the ultimate in relaxation in America, I found Gotham's Peregrinator Club lulled me to sleep in no time."

For a more down-to-Earth experience try "The Stacked Deck" in Gotham's Eastside, or relax amongst retired supervillains at "The Alibi" club in Otisburg - both conveniently situated a stone's throw from Gotham City's excellent General Infirmary.

Medical Insurance required. No communists, no British.
Photofit of one of the suspects believed to be involved in thefts from the GC Zoo. (Artist now undergoing Gender-respect training).

Gotham City Zoological and Botanical Gardens

Undoubtedly the most important zoological collection outside San Diego, Gotham City Zoo houses a huge number of exotic and threatened species. You won't want to miss our keepers feeding the squirrels (to the wolves), or the chimp's tea-party. And don't forget to take a tour of the zoo in one of Gotham's unique Zebra-drawn coaches.

There's so much to see that you'll want to stay all day. So why not dine at one of the zoo's six themed restaurants? For a mere $15 a head, children can eat chicken nuggets cut into the shape of funny, foreign animals and swill it down with Polar Bear cola. For adults, there's the Roadhouse Grill where you can sample a steak of a whole range of critters, barbecued to your satisfaction the minute they kick the bucket and our keepers can drag their lifeless corpses from the cage.

Due to unforeseen circumstances both the penguin pool and Big Cat enclosure are closed for re-stocking.

Police say they would like to speak to "an elderly smoker in a tuxedo & a leather-clad hooker" in connection to suspected rustling.

For those who prefer their animals to be plants, a day pass at Gotham City Zoo also includes free entry at Gotham's renowned Botanical Gardens where you can see species from across the globe. make like a fruit-bat and hang out in North America's only tropical rainforest, enjoy the ambience of our own mangrove swamp, or picnic in Gotham's own African Savannah.

Just be careful where you sit, Batman can't protect your heiney from the Poison Ivy here!

With crime at an all time low some say Batman is letting himself go.

A word from Chief O'Hara

You know, over the years Gotham City's had a bad name but all that's changed now. Ten year's ago Mayor Linseed cleverly mortgaged the city to invest in Enron and we're due to reap the rewards of his smarts any time soon. Now, I don't understand all this high-finance stuff but I understood what it meant when he asked Commissioner Gordon how we could cut crime in the metropolitan area and still slash the police budget by 40%. You can imagine how pleased I was!

You don't get to be a Commissioner without a ration of brains though, and between him and them, Mayor Linseed we've repealed 87 acts of city legislation and over-turned every law that wasn't nailed to the statute books by federal or state interference. And what do you know, crime is at an all time low!

But I can't overlook the input of local do-gooder, Bruce Wayne. Sure, the boys and me may not approve of his openly gay lifestyle, what with him living in that great mansion with just his tights-wearing "Ward", but his "Offender re-training" initiative has taken supervillains off the streets and out of our jails and found them useful employment. The notorious Clayface has opened his own pottery studio, The Scarecrow teaches at Gotham Agricultural College, Catwoman's pet sanctuary, "Pussy Galore" is thriving in Otisburg, The Joker manages a comedy club downtown and Two-face runs a successful schizophrenia clinic at Gotham Psychiatric Hospital. They're all far too busy to cause any trouble at all, at all. I spend most of my time putting parking tickets on the Batmobile.

So, what I'm sayin' to ya is:

Welcome to Gotham - you may never leave.

Miles O'Hara

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Featured version: 26 December 2009
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