New York Says No to Spider-Man

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Spider-Man may have called New York home in the comics, but in real life, he's not welcome. After the high-rise antics of Alain "Spider-Man" Robert and copycat Renaldo Clark, who both successfully climbed the 52-story New York Times building on June 5, New York City Council hopes to pass bill No. 721, which will make it illegal to climb or jump from a building 25 feet or higher.

As of now, the city can't punish urban daredevils with much more than what amounts to a parking ticket, but bill No. 271 would make urban climbing a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

City officials grew concerned when Robert's climb inspired a copycat act just hours after he began. Dozens of New York police officers were rerouted from their beats to watch out for the safety of both the bystanders and the climbers. They also shut down traffic on several city blocks to mitigate risk.

Opponents to the bill, which include the lawyers for both men, counter that such stunts rarely endanger anyone but the climbers themselves.

“There has never been one person, to my knowledge, who has been injured in any way by virtue of a professional climber scaling a building, as a thrill seeker or as an act of political disobedience,” (Robert's lawyer Daniel N.) Arshack said.

French "pro" climber Robert scaled the Times building to bring awareness to global warming, while IT consultant Clarke did it to bring attention to malaria. You'd think he would've climbed something else to differentiate himself from Robert, but he gets at least a little credit for putting up a new route.

If you've got plans to make a first ascent of the Chrysler building without going to jail, the clock is ticking.

— Ted Alvarez

Council seeks harsher penalty in urban climbs (NY Times)