41 years ago in August 1974 – a French high wire performer strung wire between the 2 roofs of the World Trade Center and for 45 minutes he walked, lay down, danced, kneeled and saluted onlokkers as he did 8 passes along the wire. He only stopped when it started to rain.
Unfortunately it is not just Phillipe Petit’s feat that is now being acknowledged. Because of where he did what he did, the sad, twin ghosts of those two towers are also acknowledged. No one can replicate his feat because a couple of madmen flew into those towers on 9/11. So New Yorkers cannot celebrate Petit’s feat without also mourning the site on which he pulled it off.
It was pure theater from start to finish. It was brilliant rigging and heart stopping skill which made it it possible. It took 6 years to plan in excruciating detail. Petit and his rigger Jean Louis blondeau used a 450 pound cable strung 1,3500 feet, over a quarter of a mile, high strung between the twin towers. Petit also used a 26 foot, 45 pound balancing pole to help him during his extraordinary feat.
The preparation in NYC took 6 months and involved espionage type tactics to illegally enter the WTC towers and plan their exploit. Then on the night and day over which they pulled it off they had to lugg in their heavy equipment, use a bow and arrow to send a rope between the two towers and then Blondaeu had to rigg the long wire he had specially woven so Petit could do what he did.
Once they realized what was happening cheering crowds gathered below and police and Port Authorities ordered Petit down to no avail. He finished when he chose to finish. Charges loomed but eventually he was honored for his feat and is still now a resident of NYC. The first video is part of the orginal 2008 documentary which includes actual footage of Petit doing his walk. The second video is a trailer for a new film about it which will be released in the next few months.