“Man on Wire” - On the morning of
August 7, 1974, I was the first person to arrive at the Public Affairs
Department office on the 68th Floor of One World Trade Center. Usually,
my first responsibility of the day was to call the Central Police Desk
to find out what had occurred at Port Authority facilities during the
night, so that I could provide information to news media.
Something caught my eye and I looked out
the window. To my amazement, I saw a figure on a wire 1,350 feet above
the ground performing a daring walk between One WTC and Two WTC without
a safety net. I called the Police Desk to advise of what I was seeing.
They were already aware of what was happening.
Needless to say, my heart was racing. I
kept praying that he would not fall, as he was doing some stunts while
crossing. I watched his progress for about 45 minutes until he got to
the other side and was grabbed by the Port Authority Police.
For the rest of my life, I will never
forget the daring and skill of Philippe Petit, a young French stuntman
who was aided in this scheme by several accomplices.
He was arrested for disorderly conduct
and criminal trespass. Petit escaped prosecution in exchange for a
promise to stage a free aerial performance at Central Park, which he
did. His daring and skill made to the big screen, in the Oscar-winning
2008 documentary “Man on Wire.”