If skyscrapers are the particularity of New York, the aerial views they bring of the Big Apple fascinate tourists and thrill seekers alike. Here is the top 10 of those who have braved the heights or the shallows of the city that never sleeps.
10 ) Jeb Corliss
Although he managed to jump from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Space Needle in Seattle, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur and Christ The Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, this professional stuntman was unfortunately unable to conquer the Empire State Building in New York.
Arrested in 2006 as he was about to jump from the 86th floor of the iconic art deco skyscraper, the Californian jumper has since been banned not only from the Empire State Building, but also from the Discovery Channel, where he hosted the show “Stunt Junkies”.
Whether he achieved this feat in New York City or not, the fact remains that the famous Empire State Building has been coveted by a leading authority of its kind! He was the technical advisor of the stunt where men jumped in wingsuits in the remake of the famous action movie Point Break, in which he also made a brief appearance.
9) Dark Cyanide
This young New York photographer defies not only the law of gravity, like many others, but also the dark undergrounds of the city that never sleeps. Whoever risks his life to capture the famous skyline does so just as much to take superb shots of the New York subway tracks.
8) Jacob Riglin
The London photographer Jacob Riglin is also a fanatic of heights. His lens has immortalized the 4 corners of the city that never sleeps, much to the delight of his million subscribers on Instagram. He also offers online photography courses for those who would like to master his art, but his incomparable bravery cannot be transmitted so easily!
7) Andrej Ciesielski
This young German photographer of Russian origin captured the world’s largest cities from above, but became famous after being banned from Egypt following his arrest for climbing the Great Pyramid of Giza. Japan and Australia also closed their borders to him after he illegally climbed famous monuments. However, he was lucky enough to visit the Big Apple before all this notoriety, when he was only 18 years old.
His breathtaking shots of Times Square, the Manhattan Bridge and the Empire State Building earned him articles in the British newspapers Dailymail and The Express, in which he reveals his love of New York for its rooftops, skyscrapers and unique architecture.
6) Steven Peralta
Better known as wildboysteve on his Instagram account, this young New York videographer and visual artist has far fewer subscribers than Jacob Riglin, but his shots of New York are no less striking! Sometimes perched on a roof, sometimes suspended from a structure hundreds of meters above the ground, this wild boy runs immense risks to capture the best possible shot or to be photographed, without any safety equipment.
5) Justin Casquejo
If wildboy can be happy to have such beautiful aerial photos of him and the New York skyline on his instagram account, it is undoubtedly because his sidekick Justin Casquejo captured these moments. This young stuntman became famous in 2014 as he climbs up to the end of the antenna of the One World Trade Tower while it is still under construction.
A 16-year-old ge at the time, he was arrested and sentenced to several days of community service. But his passion for heights and spectacular views of the city led him to climb New York’s tallest buildings, which earned him a few more arrests. Luckily for him and his thousands of subscribers, among the climbs he was not apprehended for were those that allowed him to immortalize magnificent shots of Times Square, Columbus Circle, and the Empire State Building, to name but a few.
In the shadow of Casquejo is Jon, better known as svvvk on his Instagram page and his website with the same acronym. This highly talented photographer and videographer has several brands that require his expertise, including Adidas, American Express, Google, Greygoose, Spotify and more. His shots of New York City are breathtaking, as are all the ones he captured from his Justin pot, risking his life every time! The angle he chooses and the artistic treatment he gives to the aerial views of the Big Apple are certainly worth his thousands of “likes” and Instagram subscribers!
3) Alain Robert
Known as the “French Spiderman”, Alain Robert holds the Guinness record for the most skyscrapers climbed. And said skyscrapers rhymes with New York. It was in 1994, more than 25 years ago, that he attacked the iconic Empire State Building in New York with his bare hands and without any protection. He also climbed the Brooklyn Bridge in the same year and the New York Times Square Building in 2008. The most amazing thing about this high level climber is that he suffers from vertigo which, medically speaking, affects a person in relation to their location in space (not to be confused with acrophobia, an extreme and irrational fear of heights). This permanent disorder is the result of a problem related to his inner ear, a consequence of a 15-meter fall that caused him several fractures and a 5-day coma in 1982. In spite of the fact that he may feel like he is in a merry-go-round, an elevator or on a boat without even moving, the French Spiderman continues to climb the highest buildings around the world, not letting his condition get him down. His trick? To always go forward and remain aware that his vertigo does not reflect reality. Quite a control when you know that he climbs full solo, never using a belay system, relying solely on his ability to never fall.
2) Philippe Petit
As young Alain Robert celebrates his 12th birthday on August 7, 1974, another French stuntman takes up the challenge of his life: crossing the twin towers of the former World Trade Center on a steel wire suspended 1350 feet high, without any protection, with only a pole to keep his balance. This spectacular and illegal feat gave the tightrope walker Philippe Petit, barely 24 years old at the time, a worldwide reputation. So much so that in 2008, the Oscar-winning documentary about the Man on the Wire event makes its appearance, followed by an IMAX film, The Walk, released in 2015, in which actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Petit.
This perilous 45-minute walk took several months of preparation for the famous tightrope walker: aerial spotting by helicopter, several visits to the towers requiring a false identity and, of course, hours of practice walking on a wire using his 50-pound, 26-foot long balance pole. It goes without saying that Mr. Petit was arrested as soon as his feat was completed, but fortunately no charges were laid against him!
The real heroes
Without a doubt, the prize goes to all the workers who, without any safety mechanism, contributed to the construction of the iconic New York buildings. Who doesn’t recognize this famous photograph entitled “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” on which 11 builders nonchalantly breaking the crust in 1932, at 840 feet of altitude, during the construction of the famous Rockefeller Center?
If for a long time these 11 unassuming stuntmen remained anonymous, it took more than 30 years for the photo credit to go to Charles Clydes Ebbets. Yet each of these people risked their lives to make New York the city we know today, without having gained notoriety. Imagine if Mr. Ebbets, armed with his heavy camera at the time, had had an Instagram page. How many “I like” mentions would he have gotten for this cliché in your opinion?