UPDATED! The picture above comes from Aint It Cool News

I was born and raised in New York City. I grew up reading Spider-Man comics I would get first at the local Te-Amo on Main Street in Flushing, right next to the Main Street Twin where I would see most of my movies, and later at Little Nemo Comics in Forest Hills. Remember the scene in the first Spider-Man where Peter is chasing the school bus and he gets stuck on the banner on the side? Little Nemo was right around the corner from that. To me Spider-Man was the superhero – the rest of them were enjoyable to read about, but the only superhero I have truly cared about has been Spider-Man.

As a native New Yorker, and as a die-hard and lifelong Spidey fan, one of the things I dreamed of seeing was Spider-Man swinging in my city. Today I had that chance when I spent about an hour and a half on the set of Spider-Man 3, watching Spidey swing over a crowd of fans, high fiving them.

First up, this is a preliminary report from that set (which I attended as a civilian, not as a CHUD writer – if you’re in New York City tomorrow you can see them shooting at Foley Square, across the street from the Federal Courthouse in Lower Manhattan/Tribeca (depending on who your real estate agent is)), and there may well be some pictures coming. I didn’t have my camera, but handed out my card to the many people who were snapping shots.

Here’s what was going on: both first and second units were shooting. The second unit was working on the Spider-Man stuff – a stuntman in the suit was hanging from a crane at one end of the plaza, while a platform was set up on the other. The platform was backed with sparkling gold streamers, and had something written on it about Spider-Man (I couldn’t see it clearly). The Mayor (a fake one) was there, as was a marching band from Port Chester, New York, who broke out into the Spider-Man cartoon theme. Bryce Dallas Howard, always under an umbrella when not being filmed (it was very sunny and she is very pale) was also on the stage, clapping and jumping up and down. As the band kicked in, Spidey swung over the enthusiastic crowd, giving the hand slaps. People had signs that read things like “Who da man? Spider-Man da man” and “I’m Little Miss Tuffet” and “Is there a Spider-Woman?” and “Up With Wallcrawlers” and “Spider-CAN!”

The crowd was filled with kids in home made Spidey costumes (I spoke to some of the moms, and they told me they had been asked to bring their own. It worked – the variety of Spidey outfits is adorable and believable), while vendors sold Spider-Man toys and balloons. There was also one of those big Velcro suit attractions (you might remember Letterman doing this) called “The Spider’s Web.”

That was second unit, which was set up on the sunny side of the plaza, near the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall subway entrance. On the other side, in the park area and beneath the trees, first unit was working. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst were there, as was Sam Raimi, who was chain smoking. I don’t know exactly what was going on here – there were people marching with more pro-Spidey signs (“Spider-Man Don’t Ever Leave Us!,” a big banner that read “Spidey the Mighty” and one sign that I thought was intriguing: “What A Catch!”), and Peter Parker was taking pictures of them. He stopped when he saw Mary Jane, she came over to him, and they hugged.

Again, this is just a prelim report – I am expecting pictures soon, and I should shortly find out in what context this scene happens. But I have to tell you, standing there and watching Spider-Man swinging over that crowd (and later I managed to watch the shot through the video monitors with the live camera feed – this is going to be a nice shot) made my day. If you happened to be down there today and saw the guy with the incredibly goofy grin on his face – that was this old Spider-Man fan having one of his dreams come true.