NYC Roof Jumpers: Viral daredevil stunt filmed in a Manhattan skyscraper

LOWER MANHATTAN, New York — Dancing across rooftops is usually something you’d see in a cat thief movie, but an Emmy-winning film director caught the real thing on camera, and his social media post of it is now going viral.

This was all taking place Monday morning about 23 stories above a street in Lower Manhattan, New York. Our sister station WABC spoke to both the man who shot the video and the daredevil himself.

Cameraman Erik Ljung, of course, took it twice when he saw a man in a suit leaping gracefully from ledge to ledge high on a skyscraper.

“He was wearing dress shoes that don’t have a good grip and it’s been raining all morning so for us, yo, what’s going on here,” Ljung said.

Eventually, the daredevil stops, takes a call, and snaps some photos.

A resident named Phil lives in the luxury building on the 22nd floor.

“That’s my apartment he just ran over,” Phil said.

At the time, Ljung, an award-winning cinematographer and director, was working on a project across the street in a building.

He went to check the lighting as he caught the daredevil’s act on camera.

“It never looked to me like he was in distress, he looked pretty good out there,” Ljung said.

Otherwise, Ljung said he would definitely have stopped filming and called for help.

The man seemed to know exactly what he was doing, but why?

“I think he was locked out of his apartment and had to go to the bathroom,” said one woman.

Finally, in a story that appeared to have more holes than a New York bagel, a comment on Ljung’s site led WABC reporter Kemberly Richardson to a woman who said she knew exactly who it was.

A short time later the mystery was solved.

“My name is Joe Smizaski and I’m director of operations and I go off rooftops like this all the time,” Smizaski said.

He explained that he was in the waterproofing business and checked things out before meeting an inspector there about removing a sidewalk shed.

He told Richardson that he had done this dozens of times, with and without safety gear, and that this time he wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

Smizaski said if he had worn safety gear while jumping like he did, the act would have been more dangerous and would have pulled him down.

Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All rights reserved. NYC Roof Jumpers: Viral daredevil stunt filmed in a Manhattan skyscraper

Laura Coffey

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