A man in a business suit leaps between dormer windows at 90 West Street (below, at the intersection of Albany Street), more than 300 feet in the air.
A impromptu video of a man leaping from one parapet to another along a rooftop 300 feet above West Street went viral on Thursday, after filmmaker Erik Ljung looked out an office window in Brookfield Place, saw what appeared to be a daredevil tempting fate, and then began recording the event with his phone.
In the video, a man in a business suit is seen bounding along the angled tops of dormer windows that project outward from the mansard roof crowning 90 West Street. He slows each time he reaches the incline on the near side of a dormer, then picks up speed as he gallops down the slope on the far side. This gives him enough momentum to leap over the six foot gap between each dormer, at which point he begins the process again. He repeated this stunt a total of seven times, taking him from one corner of the rooftop to another—all at a height slightly loftier than the torch of the Statue of Liberty.
Once he reaches the far corner of the 90 West rooftop, the man is seen sliding open a window and climbing inside. As the video went viral, garnering hundreds of thousands of views on Thursday, online speculation about the reason for this exploit tended toward the picaresque, such as the theory that he had been discovered trysting with another man’s wife, and then decided that fleeing across the fenestra was a safer bet than explaining himself.
Joseph Smizaski explains, “for me, this was an everyday event.”
The truth is far more prosaic. The aerialist is named Joseph Smizaski. “This was not a husband catching me with his wife,” Mr. Smizaski laughingly told a group of reporters gathered on West Street on Thursday morning. “I was working, taking pictures of waterproofing we had previously done. I was on the roof to prepare for an upcoming inspection by the Department of Buildings.”
“For me, this was an everyday event,” Mr. Smizaski continued. “I stayed near the slope of the mansard roof, so I would have something to hang onto if I slipped. I dress nicely when I’m up there, because people are more likely to let me in if I knock on their windows while wearing a suit.”
Mr. Smizaski patiently fielded questions until his phone rang, and then had to excuse himself in a hurry. Another member of the video’s audience had just arrived at 90 West Street. “An inspector from Occupational Safety and Health Administration wants to talk to me,” he explained.
Borough President Proposes Turning One Lane of West Street Over to Bicycles
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine has proposed to remove the westernmost traffic lane of West Street, from Chambers to West 57th Street (and, eventually, beyond), to create a new, two-way bike lane. Read more…
Better Than Mops and Buckets
The $52 Billion Plan to Protect New York from Flooding
The Army Corps of Engineers has released a draft feasibility study and environmental impact statement for its plan to protect the New York area from future flooding, as a result of extreme weather events. This plan selects from half a dozen options that were under consideration, and settles on one that envisions large flood gates at 18 communities facing direct exposure to catastrophic storm surges. Read more…
‘No Way This Could Have Been Predicted’
Doorman and Woman Assaulted on Rector Place
Amid rising concerns about violent street crime in Lower Manhattan, the overnight doorman at the Liberty House condominium (377 Rector Place) and a pedestrian nearby were assaulted in the early hours of Monday morning. Read more…
Eyes to the Sky, October 7 – 9, 2022
Planet Jupiter brightest in 59 years
In evening twilight, gaze to the eastern skyline to see the rise of planet Jupiter. Not seen so large and bright since 1963, this is a not-to-be-missed time to view the largest planet in our solar system. Two rarely coinciding planetary events account for Jupiter’s outstanding appearance in Earth’s skies over the next couple weeks. The most dramatic times to see the great gas planet are when it is rising and setting. Try looking to the east this Sunday, October 9, when the Full Hunter’s Moon rises at 6:34pm. Jupiter will rise at 5:51pm that same evening, preceding the moon. The two travel the night sky in tandem.
Participants will use the city’s shapes, patterns, and colors as inspiration to make a series of postcards reflecting the overlooked corners of Battery City Park and Brookfield Place. Part of the Fandango Skip. Free.
Several buildings in the South Street Seaport Historic District are considered to be some of the oldest standing structures in Manhattan. From taverns to warehouses, built by the most famous American architects of the 19th century, the buildings of the Seaport have big stories to tell. Free.
Alex Mammadyarov, a New York City-based psychotherapist, and writer will speak about the intersection of loss and identity, leading participants in a self-reflective and brief writing exercise. Part of the Fandango Skip.
Interactive percussion dance workshop using rhythmic steps, clapping, and an occasional shout out to explore sounds and create new dances or re-invent old ones. No previous experience required. No tap shoes required. Free.
Versatile and prolific bassist, composer, and jazz icon Dave Holland performs a power-packed set with an all-star trio of jazz heavyweights featuring guitarist Kevin Eubanks and drummer Eric Harland. Free.
Sound and meditation practice focused on holistic healing. Part of the Fandango Skip.
Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-3pm (compost program: Saturdays, 8am-1pm)
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Broadway & Whitehall St
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-5pm (compost program: 8am-11am)
World Trade Center Oculus Greenmarket
The Outdoor Fulton Stall Market
91 South Street, between Fulton & John Streets
Indoor market: Monday through Saturday,11:30am-5pm
CSA pick-up: Thursday, 4pm-6pm; Friday, 11:30-5pm
Outdoor market: Saturdays, 11:30am-5pm
Today in History
Today is Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu’s birthday (1931). The South African Anglican theologian and human rights activist won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. He died on Dec. 26, 2021. Photo by Benny Gool.
3761 BC – The epoch reference date (origin) of the modern Hebrew calendar.
1691 – The charter for the Province of Massachusetts Bay is issued.
1763 – King George III issues the Royal Proclamation of 1763, closing Indigenous lands in North America north and west of the Alleghenies to white settlements.
1870 – In the Franco-Prussian War, French Minister of the Interior Léon Gambetta escapes the siege of Paris in a hot-air balloon.
1940 – In World War II, the McCollum memo proposes bringing the United States into the war in Europe by provoking the Japanese to attack the United States.
1988 – A hunter discovers three gray whales trapped under the ice near Alaska; the situation becomes a multinational effort to free the whales.
1996 – Fox News Channel begins broadcasting.
2001 – The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan begins with an air assault and covert operations on the ground.
2008 – Asteroid 2008 TC3 impacts the Earth over Sudan, the first time an asteroid impact is detected prior to its entry into earth’s atmosphere.
1879 – Joe Hill, labor activist and poet (d. 1915)
1885 – Niels Bohr, physicist and philosopher, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1962)
1917 – June Allyson, actress (d. 2006)
1931 – Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2021)
1943 – Oliver North, American colonel (Iran – Contra)
1952 – Vladimir Putin, colonel and politician, fourth President of Russia
1955 – Yo-Yo Ma, French-American cellist and educator
1849 – Edgar Allan Poe, short story writer, poet, and critic (b. 1809)
1894 – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., physician, author, and poet (b. 1809)
1956 – Clarence Birdseye, businessman, founded Birds Eye (b. 1886)
1991 – Leo Durocher, baseball player and manager (b. 1905)