1974 when the WTC was just being completed, Philippe Petit, a French
street performer strung a cable between the Twin Towers and proceeded
to tightrope walk back and forth 6 or 8 times.Thousands watched in
amazement from below. Eventually he surrendered to the waiting arms
of the police. In the end, public sentiment ruled in his favor, and
charges were dropped in exchange for a performance by Petit for children
in Central Park. His breathtaking walk between the Twin Towers has
become part of the folklore of New York, made all the more poignant
by the horror of 9/11.
the early '80s I did a series of photographs of Lower Manhattan, funded
by the National Endowment for the Arts, back when there was still
NEA support for individual artists. Shortly after the destruction
of the Trade Center, I sifted through my archive for photographs that
included the WTC. They can be seen here.
One of the pictures I came across is at left, taken from the observation
deck on Tower 2. I did a high resolution scan of the 4x5 negative
and discovered something unseen in normal prints of the image, Philippe
Petit's scratched signature and tightrope icon.