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On This Day



On This Day… The Man Who Walked Between The Twin Towers

Written by: George Chittenden : 23 May 2019

It was on this day, 7th August back in 1974 when French high-wire artist Philippe Petit committed the most artistic crime of the century by tightrope walking between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Philippe had been planning the daring crime since he was eighteen and was only twenty-four when he pulled it off and received overnight stardom. He managed to gain access to the 110th floor of the iconic building with the help of several friends and set up the cable the previous evening. How? Well they first shot across a fishing line, which was attached to larger ropes, and finally to the 450-pound steel cable. The next morning as New Yorkers were travelling to work he made the final preparations for his daring stunt. It was around 7am when he stepped out onto the wire and began to cross the 200ft gap between the towers.

As you can imagine it caught the attention of crowds below who initially thought he was attempting suicide. However Petit went on to perform a thrilling aerial display for the next 45-minutes passing along the wire eight times. He walked, danced, and even knelt to salute onlookers. Eventually he was ordered down by the police and was arrested. Initially they thought he was insane and took him to Beekman-Downtown Hospital for evaluation. However, his sanity was quickly established, and he was released that same day. This story has such a nice ending. The charges laid against Philippe Petit by the New York police department were dismissed in exchange for the artist doing a performance in Central Park for children.

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