In the 1970s, New York City kids started scaling tall buildings, climbing bridges, and going into subway tunnels to find highly visible, off limit spots to tag their names. Now, instead of using spray paint as their medium, teenagers are climbing New York’s tallest buildings in pursuit of a different kind of tagging: Instagram photos of their daredevil urban alpinism.
Most of the pioneering “Instagram explorers” have managed to amass huge followings on social media while avoiding the authorities, but 17-year-old Demid Lebedev—or @demidism—was not so lucky. Incredible photos he allegedly took atop the under-construction luxury condominium 432 Park not only garnered the attention—and “likes”—of his followers, but also of the NYPD, reports New York magazine.
The 17-year-old has been charged with trespassing and reckless endangerment for scaling the under-construction midtown skyscraper, which is expected to reach 1,396 feet. Upon completion, it will be the second tallest building in New York and the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere.
Judging from Lebedev’s pictures, the climb was no small feat. A spectacular purple and pink photograph shows only the antennae of One World Trade Center and the Empire State Building peeking through a bed of glowing clouds. On Instagram, Lebedev commented: “I went to heaven and back.” Another photo shows him looming over the sword-like residential building One57, which he cheekily geo-tagged as “Cloud 9.”
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