There was a performer who settled a wire cable between top of the 110 story
twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and walked on it. His
name was Philippe Petit. He sneaked into the south tower with colleague.
To get across the wire, he shoot the fishing line with bow and allow to
the north tower. The other buddy on the roof top of the north tower got
the line and hauled in. As drawing the line, thin fishing line was getting
thicker and thicker, finally it turned into 450 pound steel wire. What
a well thought out scheme it is!
At 7:15am on August 7th, 1974, he took a step on the wire 1368 ft high
above. Holding a 45 pound balancing pole, he performed for 45 minutes.
He walked across eight times, even lied on the wire. The document of the
performance was well described in the movie "Man on the wire"(2008)
Colum McCann's novel "Let The Great World Spin" also begins with
the exact scene. However the work is not a documentary but a novel. It's
written about several stories in 1970s' New York.
Street hookers in the South Bronx, madame of Park side who lost her son
in Vietnam, a court justice who worked as a public servant, a boy who spray
"Tag" art in the sub way track, a young group of telephone hacker,
violence, drug, Vietnam War, the Water Gate Scandal ... full of social
movement in 70s are described. It might be too much for somebody, but I
really enjoyed it.
Although the personal stories are varies and connecting each other, their
common experience is Philippe Petit's performance. Certainly his performance
is unusual or even crazy. But he stays still on the wire and stable like
a gyro on the rope. Meanwhile the world below him is rounding faster, more
unstable and more unusual. A reader noticed it. Settling him on the center,
NY in 1974 is rounding. The people living in chaotic world just stared
him in the air as if it's a blank space in the daily life.
According to the novel, which Petit got as a penalty was just a penny fine
for floor, a dollar and 10 cents in total. For the WTC which had not succeeded
in business yet, his performance was not negative factor. It's said that's
one of reasons of the penalty.
As you know, the twin towers collapsed in 2001 by terrorist attack. The
history of the New York symbol open up with the impressive tightrope walking
and closed with the catastrophe.
I used to be the WTC neighbor. Just one year. In the middle of the two
big incidents. From my room on the 8th floor, I can looked up the tops
of both towers. It's a quite peaceful year for WTC. The biggest event for
me was being settled bland new lightings for roof top antenna of the north
tower. Sometime I think if I had lived in the apartment all my life. Maybe
I would see the strange tightrope walker and two jet planes crushing the
As the time goes by, the social issues of America or NY also changed. From
time to time, I heard about it like protest meetings for politics. There
is no the twin towers or the tightrope walker any more. So now, what is
a stable center, a neutral point of chaotic world, which tells something
important for New Yorkers? Or is the idea itself already out of date?
" Early spring " New York, USA 1992