High-wire walk on the WTC

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High-wire walk on the WTC

Post by weasel666 on Thu 21 Sep 2017, 13:39

World Trade Center walk Before his Twin Towers walk, Petit was known to New Yorkers for his frequent tightrope-walking performances and magic shows in the parks of New York, especially Washington Square Park. Petit's most famous performance was in August 1974, 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. Planning Petit conceived his "coup" when he was 18, when he first read about the proposed construction of the Twin Towers and saw drawings of the project in a magazine, which he read while sitting at a dentist's office in 1968.[5] Petit was seized by the idea of performing there, and began collecting articles on the Towers whenever he could. What was called the "artistic crime of the century" took Petit six years of planning, during which he learned everything he could about the buildings and their construction. In the same period, he began to perform high wire walking at other famous places. Rigging his wire secretly, he performed as a combination of circus act and public display. In 1971, he performed his first such walk between the towers of the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris,[1] while priests were simultaneously being ordained inside the building. In 1973, he walked a wire rigged between the two north pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, in Sydney, Australia.[6] In planning for the Twin Towers walk, Petit had to learn how to accommodate such issues as the swaying of the high towers due to wind, which was part of their design; effects of wind and weather on the wire at that height, how to rig a 200 ft (61 m) steel cable across the 138 ft (42 m) gap between the towers (at a height of 1,368 ft (417 m)), and how to gain entry with his collaborators, first to scope out the conditions and lastly, to stage the project.[2] They had to get heavy equipment to the rooftops. He traveled to New York on numerous occasions to make first-hand observations.[1] Since the towers were still under construction, Petit and one of his collaborators, New York-based photographer Jim Moore, rented a helicopter to take aerial photographs of the buildings.[2] Jean-François and Jean-Louis helped him practice in a field in France, and accompanied him to take part in the final rigging of the project, as well as to photograph it. Francis Brunn, a German juggler, provided financial support for the proposed project and its planning.[7] Petit and his crew gained entry into the towers several times and hid in upper floors and on the roofs of the unfinished buildings in order to study security measures, in addition to analyzing the construction and identifying places to anchor the wire and cavalletti[dubious – discuss]. Using his own observations, drawings, and Moore's photographs, Petit constructed a scale model of the towers in order to design the needed rigging to prepare for the wire walk. Working from an ID of an American who worked in the building, Petit made fake identification cards for himself and his collaborators (claiming that they were contractors who were installing an electrified fence on the roof) to gain access to the buildings. Prior to this, Petit had carefully observed the clothes worn by construction workers and the kinds of tools they carried. He also took note of the clothing of office workers so that some of his collaborators could pose as white collar workers. He observed what time the workers arrived and left, so he could determine when he would have roof access. As the target date of his "coup" approached, he claimed to be a journalist with Metropolis, a French architecture magazine, so that he could gain permission to interview the workers on the roof. The Port Authority allowed Petit to conduct the interviews, which he used as a pretext to make more observations. He was once caught by a police officer on the roof, and his hopes to do the high-wire walk were dampened. He eventually regained the confidence to proceed. On the night of Tuesday, 6 August 1974, Petit and his crew had a lucky break and got a ride in a freight elevator to the 110th floor with their equipment. They stored it just 19 steps below the roof. In order to pass the cable across the void, Petit and his crew had settled on using a bow and arrow attached to a rope. They had to practice this many times to perfect their technique. They first shot across a fishing line, which was attached to larger ropes, and finally to the 450-pound steel cable. The team was delayed when the heavy cable sank too fast, and had to be pulled up manually for hours. Petit had already identified points at which to anchor two tiranti (guy lines) to other points to stabilize the cable and keep the swaying of the wire to a minimum.[2] Event Shortly after 7 am local time, Petit stepped out on the wire and started to perform. He was 1350 feet (411 m), 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 knelt to salute watchers. Crowds gathered on the streets below, and he said later he could hear their murmuring and cheers. When NYPD and PAPD officers learned of his stunt, they came up to the roofs of both buildings to try to persuade him to get off the wire. They threatened to pluck him off by helicopter. Petit got off when it started to rain. Aftermath There was extensive news coverage and public appreciation of Petit's high-wire walk; the district attorney dropped all formal charges of trespassing and other items relating to his walk.[8] In exchange, he was required to give a free aerial show for children in Central Park. He performed on a high-wire walk in the Park above Belvedere Lake (known now as Turtle Pond). The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey gave Petit a lifetime pass to the Twin Towers' Observation Deck. He autographed a steel beam close to the point where he began his walk. Petit's high-wire walk is credited with bringing the Twin Towers much needed attention and even affection, as they initially had been unpopular.[9][10] Critics such as historian Lewis Mumford had regarded them as ugly and utilitarian in design, and too large a development for the area. The Port Authority was having trouble renting out all of the office space.[9] Mordicai Gerstein wrote and illustrated a children's book, The Man Who Walked Between The Towers (2003), which won a Caldecott Medal for his art. It was adapted and produced as an animated short film by the same title, directed by Michael Sporn and released in 2005, which won several awards. The documentary film Man on Wire (2008) by UK director James Marsh is about Petit and his 1974 WTC performance; it won both the World Cinema Jury and Audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival 2008. It combines historical footage with re-enactment and has the spirit of a heist film. It also won awards at the 2008 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina, and the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2009. On stage with Marsh to accept the Oscar award, Petit made a coin vanish in his hands while thanking the Academy "for believing in magic". He balanced the Oscar by its head on his chin to cheers from the audience.[11] Petit's memoir was adapted into a biographical drama entitled The Walk (2015), directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit. wrote:



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