The man whose brazen climb of Trump Tower riveted people across the country on Wednesday has been charged, the police said on Thursday morning.
Identified as Stephen Rogata, 19, of Great Falls, Va., he now faces charges of reckless endangerment and trespassing in connection with the unauthorized ascent of the Fifth Avenue building, the police said.
I can't say I was among those riveted Americans as I was busy doing other things, but I did receive the following email from a reader while the climber was still making his attempt:
You'll be pleased that know that at about 6.00pm CBS has reported that the above mentioned individual currently located at about the 19th floor is not wearing a helmet.
I wonder if helmet use is as controversial a subject among Mountaineering Freds as it is among Bicycle Freds, and if they also engage in similar victim-blaming:
(The victim was not wearing a helmet.)
Anyway, I wasn't worried too much about Mr. Trump because I knew he was safe--maybe not safe from looking like the inside of a baby's diaper after a meal of puréed carrots, but certainly safe from the menacing suction cups of the human fly. The reason I knew this was because the other day I happened to be riding past Trump Tower and noticed what I assume was an NYPD security detail parked right out front. Indeed, so laser-focussed were these officers on protecting Trump Tower that they completely ignored the large truck that sped right through a solid red light in order to make an illegal turn, a move which could have very easily taken out any number of pedestrians.
I suppose this is what people mean by "security theater:" make a big show of guarding the big shiny symbol while ignoring the behavior that maims and kills people every single day.
Speaking of Midtown Manhattan, I made my way down there this morning in order to meet with a representative from a company who's selling one of these futuristic "smart bike" systems, ostensibly to receive some sort of demonstration. As the father of seventeen (17) children my mornings are quite busy, what with having to drop the children off at their various factory jobs and all. This means heading downtown for a meeting is no mean feat. Indeed, by the time I'd dispensed with all of them and extricated myself from my parenting responsibilities I did not even have ample time to ride to the meeting, much less "curate" my daily weblog. So instead, I grabbed my Brompton and hopped on the subway.
By this time I was running late, and as the subway rattled along I felt uneasy about possibly forcing the representative to wait for me in the uncomfortable heat. So you can imagine my surprise and chagrin when I finally emerged from the subway in Midtown, only to find a voicemail from said representative informing me that they would not be able to meet me after all owing to the fact that the "smart bike" system wasn't working properly.
This was information I could have used over twenty (20) subway stops ago, and the upshot of it was that I'd traveled all this way with a Brompton between my legs for nothing.
As I pondered the situation, I realized that in the same way that the Trump Tower climber helped underscore the concept of "security theater" for me, so did the "smart bike" fiasco illustrate the absurdity of "connected" cycling. Consider the bicycle:
(Just a generic picture of a bike, try not to read too much into it.)
Here's a machine that is the epitome of simplicity, efficiency, and elegance. The basic concept behind it has been unchanged for well over 100 years--excluding brainfarts like this of course:
Nevertheless, people keep trying to augment it, and what do I have to show for it? Basically just a helmet that doesn't work:
And now a wasted trip to Midtown.
But no trip with a bicycle is truly wasted, and so I pointed the Brompton towards Central Park:
Where I was immediately set upon by a member of that sub-order of cyclists known as the "road bro:"
As I rode, I pondered my cockpit's utter lack of technology apart from its two-speed shifter and vaguely labial grips:
Though I suppose the self-fellating Brompton is itself an example of technology:
I then exited the park in search of air conditioning and culture, in that order. So I did something ironic, which is lock the Brompton to a bike rack:
(Isn't the whole point of a Brompton that you don't have to do this?)
And ducked into the nearest museum:
I was glad that I did, because not only was there air conditioning, but there was also a box of Jews:
As well as an exhibit I'd been meaning to see since I rolled by recently for an upcoming Citi Bike blog post:
I'd have stayed longer, but I was on both borrowed and found time, plus the sofa didn't fold out so there was no place for me to sleep:
So I resolved to return when I had more time, then I hopped a train and headed home:
As for "smart bike" technology, in the end I was glad for the detour it inspired, so I suppose it's at its best when it's not working.