Anniversary of George Willig's 1977 WTC climb
While the spotlight has recently been cast upon Phillippe Petit due to the popularity of the documentary MAN ON WIRE, this week marks the anniversary of another famous stunt involving the World Trade Center that occurred on May 25, 1977. That day beginning at 6:30 am, a Queens mountain climber and toymaker George Willig began scaling the South Tower using custom clamps. When guards caught on and yelled at him to get down he replied, “I’m not coming down. There’s only one way to go, and that’s up.” And so he did, in a climb that took approximately three and a half hours to complete and, like Petit, captivated a city and country for a moment. Afterwards Willig was fined by then-New York City Mayor Abraham Beame one cent for each of the skyscraper’s 110 stories.
At the top, Willig signed his name on a part of the tower’s observation deck, which you can see here:
There’s something poignant in his doodle illustration of the Twin Towers.