Lawrence resident Josh Aryeh has a unique hobby. Like Adam West, Michael Keaton, Christian Bale and Ben Affleck, Aryeh dons a Batman suit, but unlike the aforementioned TV and movie Caped Crusaders, he does not fight crime, he produces smiles.
Aryeh and a few of his costumed volunteer friends from Brookville, Cedarhurst, Great Neck, Hewlett, Woodmere and other Nassau County communities, along with a DJ, a magicians and their superhero cars visited children at St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in Bayside on Jan. 28. One child is awaiting a lung transplant, another is recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous growth from her eye.
Beginning in 2008, Aryeh took ill children for rides in a rented Lamborghini convertible. He expanded to dressing as Batman and adorning his then car, a Nissan GT-R, with decorations signaling the time of year and with the Batman insignia. Now he has a 2015 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster.
Inspired by Lenny Robinson, a Maryland man who began dressing as Batman and visiting children in hospitals across his home state and the Washington, D.C., area, in 2007, Aryeh has visited more than 11,000 children. Robinson was killed after his car broke down on a busy Maryland highway in 2015.
In July 2018, Aryeh established Smiles Through Cars, “to enable me to do more for the children,” he said. The volunteers are part of the organization.
Photographs and videos from the events can be seen on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter under the account name — Batman Real Account which has 77,000-plus followers.