The Man Who Walked Between the Towers


Once there were two towers side by side.

They were each a quarter of a mile high.

1340 feet.

The tallest buildings in New York City.

A young man saw them rise into the sky.

He was a street performer.

He rode a unicycle.

He juggled balls

and fiery torches.

But most of all he loved to walk and dance

on a rope he tied between two trees.

He looked not at the towers

but at the space between them.

And thought:

"What a wonderful place to stretch a rope!"

"A wire on which to walk!"

Once the idea came to him

he knew he had to do it.

If he saw three balls he had to juggle.

If he saw two towers he had to walk.

That's how he was.

Hadn't he danced on a wire

between the steeples of Notre Dame Cathedral

above his amazed home city, Paris?

Why not here?

Between these two towers?

Of course he knew that, as in Paris,

the police and the owners of the towers

would never allow it.

"You must be crazy!" - they would say.

"You'd fall for sure!"

And so Philippe

- that was the young man's name -

began a plan to do it secretly.

"The buildings are not quite finished!"

- he thought.

"Maybe if I dressed as a construction worker!"

Early on an august evening

he and a friend entered the South Tower.

They got a 440 pound reel of cable

and other equipment into the elevator.

Took it to the unfinished top 10 floors.

And waited till nightfall

when everyone had gone.

Then they carried everything up

180 stairs to the roof.

At midnight on the other tower's roof,

two more friends tied

a thin, strong line to an arrow

and shot it across to Philippe.

140 feet away.

It missed.

And landed on a ledge

15 feet below the roof.

"Bad luck!" - thought Philippe.

He crawled down to the ledge,

over the sparkling city, and got the arrow.

To its line he tied a stronger line,

which his friends pulled back to their tower.

To his end of the stronger line,

Philippe tied the cable

on which he would walk.

It was 7/8 of an inch thick.

His friends pulled the cable

over to their tower.

But it was so heavy

that it slipped from Philippe's grip.

The cable's middle plummeted

toward the street,

pulling their friends on the other tower

to the very edge.

Philippe, just in time,

secured his end.

It took three hours

to pull the cable back up.

Franticly, as the stars faded,

they tightened it between the towers.

It was past dawn before they were ready.

Philippe put on his black shirt and tights.

He picked up his 28 foot balancing pole.

All his life he had worked to be here.

To do this.

As the rising sun lit up the towers,

out he stepped onto the wire.

Out to the very middle he walked,

as if he were walking on the air itself.

Many winds whirled up from

between the towers, and he swayed with them.

He could feel the towers breathing.

He was not afraid.

He felt alone

and happy

and absolutely free.

A women coming from the subway

might have been the first to see him.

"Look! Someone are walking

on a wire between the towers!"

Everyone stopped and looked up.

They gasped and stared.

It was astonishing.

It was terrifying and beautiful.

A quarter of a mile up in the sky

someone was dancing.

Police saw it too.

Officers rushed

to the roofs of the towers.

"You're under arrest!"

- they shouted through bullhorns.

Philippe turned

and walked the other way.

"Who would come and get him?"

For almost an hour,

back and forth,

he walked,



and knelt in a salute

upon the wire.

He even laid down to rest.

The city and harbour

spread beneath him.

The sky surrounded him.

Seagulls flew under and over.

As long as he stayed on the wire

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"The Man Who Walked Between the Towers" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 31 Mar. 2020. <>.

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