NEW YORK |
The Spanish tradition of building multi-story human towers called “Castells” made its New York City debut on Wednesday.
The Castellers de Vilafranca team build a human tower, or castell, on a skysraper roof in Manhatten, New York as part of a bid to set a new world record.
It’s only the second time human towers have ever been built in the United States, but it’s a new world record – an eight human tier tower, which is 40 plus feet.
The group showcased the traditional Catelonian pastime of human tower building as they attempted to construct the first eight-level human tower ever assembled on a rooftop.
The 150-strong Castellers de Vilafranca team took about five minutes to get into position. Cheers erupted when the final child, wearing a safety helmet, topped the precarious human tower.
The performance is the first in a series of events being held to celebrate the rebuilding of the World Trade Center complex that was destroyed by terrorists in 2001.
The team certainly made for an impressive site in their uniform of white trousers, green tops and black and red belts.
Speaking about the rooftop location, Lanny Grossman, a publicist who helped organize the event, told The New York Times: “We’re not putting them anywhere near the edge because they seem to fall a fair number of times. If you’re on the top, you fall far. If you’re on the bottom, other people fall on you. There’s no win-win there.”
“They’re the New York Giants of human tower-building,” said Ram Devineni, a producer and director of a documentary about the team called “The Human Tower.”
Miquel Ferret, a former president of the team, said that non-Catalonians sometimes wondered why anyone would take up human tower-building. “It’s part of our identity,” he said. “Some places dance. Some do music. We do human towers.”
The tower-builders said individual size and shape did not matter. “If you are strong and have no balance, it’s not O.K.,” said Jerome Titulaer, who said he was from the Netherlands but now lived in Catalonia. “I don’t have balance like a small girl, but she does not have strength like me. Everybody has something.”