On This Date in 1974, Philippe Petit Became "Man on Wire"

Chris Higgins
YouTube // spikesmycopilotbis
YouTube // spikesmycopilotbis / YouTube // spikesmycopilotbis

After years of planning, on August 7, 1974, high-wire artist Philippe Petit illegally performed his high-wire walk between the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The towers weren't quite finished yet. After a night rigging the line, Petit stepped out at 7am. Balancing a quarter-mile above the ground, he crossed eight times with no safety net, spending 45 minutes up there. He was 24. Eventually all the charges were dropped and Petit performed for children in Central Park. Not a bad sentence.

Perhaps the most bizarre part of the walk? They secured the line between the towers by shooting a bow and arrow attached to the cord.

Here's a clip from Ric Burns' 1999 documentary New York dealing with the walk:

And here's news footage from the time, including an interview with the officer who talked Petit down:

For more on Petit's feat, check out the films Man on Wire and The Walk.