“When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk.”

Inspiration can come at odd moments in your life. Like when Philippe Petit was sitting in his dentist offices waiting room and he saw an article about two twin buildings being built in New York City. He decided then and there that, somehow, he was going to cross from one tower to the other by way of a steel cable. Just because he wanted to.

After the World Trade Center buildings were constructed in the early 70’s, Petit took several trips from france (where he lived) to NYC to check it out. He snuck up to the roof several times, hoping to gain information on how to perform his goal. All together, it took him six years to plan everything out. His wealthy juggling friend, Frances Brunn, helped with paying for a helicopter ride over the towers so Petit could take some aerial photos.

38 years ago today.

When the time came, Petit and his crew snuck up to the roof of one tower, while others went to the roof of the other tower. Petit shot a bow and arrow across the towers, bringing the cable that would eventually bring Petit himself across as well.

The next morning, 38 years ago today, Mr. Petit took his first steps onto the wire. Overall, he crossed the wire 8 times, in the span of 45 minutes. He danced on the wire. He jumped on the wire. He layed down on the wire. People watching him were impressed that he didn’t fall, and that the many cable wires woven together not only held him up, but gave him enough security to fool around.

At first, the police were furious that he did this, and threw some criminal charges at him. They eventually all got dropped because of the high-level news coverage of the act and the fact that it brought much needed publicity to the buildings. Instead, he received a lifetime pass to the observation deck of the twin towers. Hows that for crime and punishment?

The entire event was filmed, which was made into a documentary, called Man on Wire, which you can find here at the library.

One Response to ““When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk.””

  1. August 28, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    A little known feat…that was fantastic in proportion and execution! The documentary is super- interesting…especially if you have a bit of performance artist or daredevil in you : )