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June 05, 2008

Times Climber

So I looked up from my desk just after 11 or so today and saw a guy climbing up the outside of our building (I work on the 8th floor of the NYT building). He was about 20 feet away, moving steadily up the ladder-like metal rods that form an exterior next to the glass floor-to-ceiling windows. Just above our floor, he stopped to talk on his cell phone and tie a green banner (it said "Global warming kills more people than 9/11 every week.") to the metal rods. It was windy, so he spent a little time adjusting it.

By then, a crowd of NYTers had moved to the 8th floor window, and the construction workers across the street were all gawking. A coworker said it was Alain Robert -- the "climbing guy" who has done other stunts on skyscrapers. Someone said he was wearing climbing shoes and had chalk, but there was no safety equipment. City Room has more.

As we watched (I had to look away a couple of times -- sympathetic vertigo), some police officers arrived on our floor and started putting on climbing harnesses. There was talk of "glass cutting equipment", but Robert started moving again and the police went upstairs (they didn't end up cutting any glass). I hear that people were watching from the cafeteria on 14, and I guess he must have moved pretty quickly because he made it to the top (52 stories) and was arrested by about 12:30.

I headed downstairs just after that and people outside the port authority were confused (did someone jump? he climbed up and he's gonna jump? Was there another crane collapse?). 41st was closed off and there were police and guards everywhere.

Here's a video from someone who works on my floor. No boring days here!

I imagine I'll see someone come to take down the sign eventually. Maybe I should start bringing my camera to work, huh?

Update: ANOTHER person is treating the NYT building like a giant jungle gym. This time, it's on the 8th Ave. side and since it's rush hour, there are throngs of people outside the port authority staring up. This climber's t-shirt says "Malaria". Architectural flaw, perhaps?

Posted by csageday at June 5, 2008 01:04 PM