NYPD Guards NY Times Building After 2 Men Climb Facade

Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - A cordon of police officers and private security stood guard Friday in front of The New York Times building after two daredevils scaled the skyscraper in midtown Manhattan within hours of each other.

Police arrested both men Thursday after each safely reached the top of the 52-story tower, the distinctive facade of which has slats like the rungs of a ladder.

The stunts drew the attention of hundreds of onlookers, along with TV cameras that captured the drama in real time. Crowds on the street pressed against police barricades to watch the climb, and people clapped and cheered while snapping pictures on their cell phones.

The first man, French stuntman Alain Robert, unfurled a banner as he climbed that said "Global warming kills more people than a 9/11 every week."

He was promptly arrested by the NYPD when he made it to the top, charged with reckless endangerment and released on bail early Friday.

Hours later, a Brooklyn man, Renaldo Clarke, made his own ascent up the building, saying that he wanted to promote awareness about malaria.

He, too, was arrested on charges of reckless endangerment when he reached the top and was awaiting arraignment. Neither man wore a rope or harness.

Police said the officers became concerned that Clarke might be an emotionally disturbed copycat, and he was taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation before being returned to police custody.

Robert's Web site says he has climbed more than 70 skyscrapers around the world including the Eiffel Tower and Louvre Pyramid in Paris. He was arrested in February after climbing a 42-floor building in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The stunts were staged at the Times building, just a block south of the busy intersection of Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street, across the street from the Port Authority bus terminal.

A spokeswoman for the Times, Catherine Mathis, said the climbers threatened the safety of themselves and others, and that no one at the newspaper knew of plans for the climbs.

Reacting to the content of Robert's banner, Mathis said the Times has "a very green building."

She said the ceramic slats save energy by reducing the amount of
heat and light entering the building, where the Times moved last
Clarke's Facebook page says he enjoys climbing and lists
"xtreme living" among his interests. The page identifies him as
an information technology support manager for a Manhattan
advertising agency. He did not immediately return an online
A Facebook friend, Catherine Zubkow, said Clarke is a seasoned
climber and is not emotionally disturbed.
"He would never intentionally try to harm anyone," she said
via e-mail. "It is possible he did not foresee all the
consequences of his actions with regards to the law."
New York's skyscrapers have long attracted high-rise stunts.
In 1974, French artist Philippe Petit made a daring and illegal
wire-walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
British director James Marsh made "Man on Wire," a retelling of
the derring-do.
Associated Press Writer Verena Dobnik contributed to this

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by WOW Location: richmond on Jun 6, 2008 at 01:13 PM
    it's just goes to show what crazy people we have in this world!!! More wacko's out there then you realize. Some people are just desparate for attention.
  • by ben Location: lex on Jun 6, 2008 at 11:47 AM
    Hard Labor for climbing a building to make a peaceful point? Jeez some of you are some out of touch facists.
  • by East Ky. Mom Location: Eastern Ky. on Jun 6, 2008 at 10:59 AM
    These two so called gentlemen took a risk to do something for attention. If they had fallen off the building then they would have sued or should I say their families would have for having such a tall building!!! I say throw them in jail and make them do hard labor to teach them and others they can't be diong this.


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