17-Year-Old Climbs NYC’s Tallest Residential Building to Instagram, Gets Arrested

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Photo: demidism/Instagram

The teenager known to his 7,850 Instagram followers as demidism, a self-described “urban historian,” got a little bit too well-known last week. Part of a burgeoning scene of fearless Instagram explorers who scale bridges and buildings around the city in search of a breathtaking shot, demidism made the blogs for his successful climb to the top of 432 Park Avenue, the in-construction luxury tower expected to top out at 1,398 feet, making it the second-tallest building in the city. His awesome photos from amid the clouds won him a few hundred “likes,” but also grabbed the attention of the NYPD

NBC New York reports that the 17-year-old has been charged with trespassing and reckless endangerment for scaling the midtown building.

But the pictures, which demidism geotagged as “Cloud 9,” remain. “I went to heaven and back,” he wrote, and it was probably worth it, although maybe he should consider making his account private.

Adrian Chen profiled the “Outlaw Instagrammers of New York City” for Intelligencer last month:

There has long been a subculture of so-called “urban explorers” who have made a game of accessing off-limits places. But Deas and the other Instagrammers distinguish themselves from these mostly older, more cerebral trespassers. “They’ll go to the top of the bridge and touch it and be like, Wow, this architecture!,” Deas says, a little dismissively. Urban explorers take photos mainly to document that they’ve been there, while for Deas the image is the whole point.  The outlaw Instagrammers have more in common with graffiti artists, another subculture of underground creatives who make their work in the cracks of the urban landscape. Many Instagrammers go by enigmatic handles that would look good scrawled on the side of a subway car, like Novess, Black_soap, Heavy Minds, and 13thwitness, aka Tim McGurr, an unofficial godfather of the scene. But the outlaw Instagrammers are better-positioned to thrive in post-Giuliani, post-Facebook New York than old-school graffiti writers: transgressive enough to be cool, but innocuous enough to amass a huge following without getting hunted down by the NYPD.

Apparently, not anymore.