Latest ‘NYT’ Climber Prompts Building Facade Removal

By: Joe Strupp

A day after a third climber scaled The New York Times building on Manhattan’s west side, the paper revealed that workers had begun removing dozens of the ceramic tubes from the building’s facade that had made such climbing easier.

The cross-town Daily News, meanwhile, used the early Wednesday climbing incident at the home of its daily rival to promote itself with a story about a Daily News night editor talking the climber down after he called the Daily News newsroom.

“How News Editor Talked Down Spidey,” the Page One headline proclaimed. Inside, Night Editor Jill Coffey described her apparent phone call from the climber, David Malone, and her later visit to the Times building at his request.

“I was kept back from the window at first. Malone apparently couldn’t see in, so I was moved closer,” she writes about what occurred when she reached the building and Malone’s floor with police help. “I was encouraged to talk to him, but it was difficult because I was at least 10 feet away. I was also trying not to get the heels tangled in the ropes attached to some officers who perched on a ledge outside the building, five stories up.”

Coffey’s first-person account included an online photo of her at her desk and a video interview with her. “You never want to be part of the story, so it is a little strange to be part of the story,” she said in the interview.

Even stranger might be that Coffey is married to Tom Coffey, a Times sports desk editor. At the end of her story, she notes receiving a call from her husband on her way home, remarking to him, “you guys have got to do something about that building.”

And they apparently have.

In a Times story today, that paper described the changes being made to avoid future climbers, stating, “Workers began removing dozens of the ceramic tubes that swathe the New York Times building on Wednesday afternoon, after a third climber used them as ladder-like rungs for an ascent that ended in his arrest earlier in the day.”

It added that: “The alteration of the facade designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop amounted to a very public and visible admission of defeat, at least temporarily. One of the aesthetic and functional elements that had garnered worldwide attention for The Times?s building at 620 Eighth Avenue was being transformed in the name of security.”

Michael Golden, vice chairman of The New York Times Company, said in the story that he was determined to find a solution that would not compromise the architecture. ?We?re going to sort this out within the design sensibility of the building,? he said.

The Times story added that: “it was unclear how far the removal would extend: eight feet, nine feet, 10 feet from the canopy that had offered inadvertently easy access to the three climbers who have scaled the tower.”

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