Like a high-flying sequel to a big-screen blockbuster, window washers doubling as superheroes made a dramatic return on to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
This time, they had company.
Trailed by news crews, photographers and hospital media gurus, the foursome from Allegheny Window Cleaning Inc. of Springdale brought newfound celebrity to their rounds at Penn Avenue and 45th Street in Lawrenceville. More than a half-dozen other children’s hospitals across the country have adopted the idea since Allegheny Window workers suited up last fall as Batman, Captain America, Spider-Man and Superman.
For Naomi Kurzweg, 10, of Squirrel Hill, the surprise appearances lightened an appointment for blood work.
“I think my favorite was Spider-Man,” she said, grinning at the superheroes’ choice of footwear: sneakers.
Matuizek’s wife and company office manager Michelle Matuizek saw a similar appearance at a British hospital and suggested the costumes. With a blessing from Children’s Hospital, workers Rick Bollinger, 46, and Mark Errico, 26, both from Natrona Heights, Ed Hetrick, 36, of Springdale and Jim Zaremba, 45, of New Kensington morphed into comic-book alter egos to wash windows for two hours on Oct. 22.
They expected to do it again this fall but bumped up the appearance because of a request from the 296-bed UPMC facility. Their four-hour session was better coordinated this time, reaching more banks of windows and more young patients. Organizers plan to make the visit a twice-yearly event.
“If the windows have to be washed, it might as well be done by superheroes,” said Naomi’s mother, Anne Kurzweg, 42.
“It’s about the kids and giving the kids an environment where their health and welfare is the focus, but not just from a medical perspective,” Children’s facilities director Liz Munsch said. “It gives them something else to enjoy and make it feel less like a hospital.”
Katrina Koenig, 9, of Apollo darted among the windows, taking photos with an iPod as Batman dangled outside with a squeegee.
“It’s really fun,” she said.
“Too bad we couldn’t get his autograph on our doctor’s excuse,” said her mother, Shawne Koenig, 41.