|Those sash windows. The last strap hanging window washer in New York.|
The last strap hanging window washer in New York: This video shows the last known strap hanging window washer in New York. Charlie, on the eleventh floor of Manhattan’s Chanin Building, opens a metal clamp attached to a leather strap around his waist and swings out, pinning it to one corner of the window frame. After attaching the second clamp, he gets to work suspended high above 42nd street.
According to YouTuber Giselle Benatar, he cleans all the windows of the Chanin Building which is sixty stories high. The Chanin building still has windows that open by sliding up and down, in other buildings, these have been replaced with new windows that flip in and out meaning you can wash them from the inside.
Benatar says, “most buildings no longer need window washers with Charlie’s formidable free-form suspension skills.” The union says he’s the last strap hanging window washer in the city.
Nerves of Steel: Last strap hanging window washer in New York (by Giselle Benatar): A sharp rap on my office door, and there stands Charlie. “You got flowers,” he says,"You need those windows washed.” I warily agree, so he carefully removes the flower pots from my window sill and plants his work boots. Opening a metal clamp attached to a leather strap around his waist, he swings out and pins it to one corner of the outside window frame. My office window is eleven stories up in Manhattan's famous Chanin Building, mind you…. Oh my god - don't look down!
Charlie calmly attaches a second clamp and sets to work, suspend high above the cars and buses furiously inching their way along 42nd street. He cleans the windows of all sixty stories of the Chanin Building. I try hard not to picture him doing this sixty stories up. The Chanin still has windows that open by sliding up and down, he explains. In other buildings, they’ve replaced these with new windows that flip in and out, the kind you can wash from the inside. Most buildings no longer need window washers with Charlie's formidable free-form suspension skills.
He thought about retiring to Florida with his wife. They went down for a week’s vacation, but ended up coming back two days early. "Nothing to do there. People walked around like this," he says, mimicking a sleepwalking zombie. So he's back where he belongs, hanging eleven stories above the streets of New York. He's the last strap hanging window-washer in the city. They asked around at the union, and no one else came forward. Inspired by Humans of New York, I had to capture this. See how he does it!