Man on Wire

Written by Thomas Büsch on . Posted in Tightrope Walking

Philippe Petit was crossing illegally the space between the two towers of the World Trade Center in August 1974.

10PhilippePetit

Petit’s most famous performance was conducted on a wire between the roofs of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, a quarter mile above the ground. He performed for 45 minutes, making eight passes along the wire, during which he walked, danced, lay down on the wire, and saluted watchers from a kneeling position. Office workers, construction crews and policemen cheered him on.

On the street below, people stopped in their tracks — first by the tens, then by the hundreds and thousands — staring up in wonder and disbelief at the tiny figure walking on air between the towers. Sgt. Charles Daniels of the Port Authority Police Department, dispatched to the roof to bring Petit down, looked on in helpless amazement. “I observed the tightrope ‘dancer’ — because you couldn’t call him a ‘walker’ — approximately halfway between the two towers,” he later reported. “And upon seeing us he started to smile and laugh and he started going into a dancing routine on the high wire. And when he got to the building we asked him to get off the high wire but instead he turned around and ran back out into the middle… He was bouncing up and down… His feet were actually leaving the wire and then he would resettle back on the wire again… Unbelievable really…

PhilippePetitsInterviewAfter the performance Philippe Petit gets arrested

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