Forty years ago this Thursday, a 24-year-old Frenchman captivated the world when he walked across a steel high wire suspended between New York City’s Twin Towers.
Philippe Petit, in an interview with The Telegraph to mark the anniversary of the 1974 stunt, called the performance the highlight of his life.
He first got the idea when he read about the World Trade Center in a magazine at a dentist’s office. The towers hadn’t been finished yet, and Petit took six and a half years to plan the walk, according to The Telegraph.
The walk was not sanctioned by the city. Petit referred to it as the “artistic crime of the century.” He prepared for the walk by practicing tight rope walking, studying the towers, and finding people who were willing to assist him in his quest.
Petit got up to the roof by posing as a French journalist, according to The Telegraph. He convinced someone inside the towers to forge security passes for him.
The day of the walk, Petit and some assistants hid in the towers and set up the cable before dawn, according to the AP.
The 110-story buildings were more than a quarter-mile high, and the two buildings were about 200 feet apart. Petit did not use a safety net or harness, according to the Daily Mail.
Petit was arrested when he got off the wire, but his charges were eventually dropped after he agreed to perform for children in Central Park, according to The Telegraph.
Check out the photos from Petit’s amazing stunt:
Petit carried a 26-foot pole to help him keep his balance.
Petit crossed the cable multiple times and rested in between.
At one point, he even laid down on the cable.
The cable was suspended 1,350 feet above the ground.
The walk was extremely dangerous, and Petit says the “gods were with” him that day.
A movie about the famed tight rope walk, called “The Walk” and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is slated for release in 2015.
The 2008 documentary “Man On Wire” about Petit’s walk won an Oscar. Check out the trailer below:
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