Wannabe joins climate crusader high-rise stunt

Submitted by Deb W.
/ Source: msnbc.com news services

Police guarded the New York Times' 52-story tower on Friday after two men were arrested Thursday for scaling it — one a Brooklyn copycat, the other a French climber nicknamed "Spiderman" who wanted to draw attention to global warming.

Both were promptly arrested by the NYPD when they made it to the top.

The Brooklyn man, Renaldo Clarke, on Thursday afternoon made his own ascent, saying that he wanted to promote awareness about malaria.

He was arrested on charges of reckless endangerment and was awaiting arraignment. Neither man wore a rope or harness.

Earlier Thursday, Alain Robert unfurled a banner as he climbed that said "Global warming kills more people than a 9/11 every week" — a reference to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Hundreds of people craned their necks to watch his climb up the exterior of the new tower.

"He must be nuts," said Sammy Cataldo, a construction worker on a neighboring building.

Other construction workers cheered him on, and Robert pumped his fist.

He raised both arms and waved to onlookers when he reached the top, where waiting police handcuffed and detained him. Using the lattice work on the facade, he climbed without equipment besides chalk for his hands and climbing shoes.

Robert, 45, was charged with reckless endangerment and released on bail early Friday.

The New York Times issued a statement later saying the climber "jeopardized their safety and the safety of others. We are taking steps to prevent future occurrences."

Climber gets around
Robert's Web site says he has climbed more than 70 skyscrapers around the world. He was arrested in February after climbing a 42-floor building in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Thursday's stunt was staged at the Times building, just a block south of the busy intersection at Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street, across the street from the Port Authority bus terminal. The building's facade is covered with slats that Robert climbed like a ladder.

A spokeswoman for the Times, Catherine Mathis, said no one at the newspaper knew of Robert's plan in advance.

Robert said in a news release he was climbing to mark the United Nations' World Environment Day and "to create support for far greater and urgent action from world leaders on global warming."

Submitted by Deb W.

One city councilman is hoping that Robert gets to know what the inside of a New York City jail looks like.

"Regardless of the cause, in this day and age the police department has more important things to worry about than ridiculous stunts like this that endanger the police and public," said Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. "If he wants to climb something, he can climb the walls inside his jail cell at Rikers."