June 5, 2008 / 4:40 PM / 12 years ago

French "Spiderman" scales New York Times building

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The man known as the French “Spiderman” climbed The New York Times building on Thursday to draw attention to global warming, adding to earlier conquests including the Eiffel Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge.

French climber Alain Robert, also known as "Spiderman," climbs outside The New York Times building to raise awareness of global warming June 5, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Alain Robert, 45, told reporters ahead of the climb on U.N. World Environment Day his aim was “to raise awareness of global warming since this is one of the main problems for our time.”

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.

Around the 10th floor he put up a banner saying, “Global warming kills more people than 9/11 every week.”

The climb drew hundreds of spectators in Midtown Manhattan who gathered around the Times building plus police, fire fighters and other emergency services personnel.

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

The New York Times moved into the 52-story building in Midtown Manhattan a year ago. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, its antenna tops out at 1,142 feet.

A spokeswoman for the Times had no comment.

Robert, who says he suffers from vertigo, has climbed more than 80 skyscrapers and landmarks including Chicago’s Sears Tower and Taipei 101 in Taiwan, the tallest building in the world.

His climbs are often illegal, usually without permission and always without rope for protection.

Last year he was jailed for five days in China after he scaled the 88-story Jin Mao Building in Shanghai. He was expelled and banned from China for five years.

Reporting by Marcy Nicholson, Editing by Daniel Trotta and David Wiessler

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