Video: The Spider-Man of Window Cleaners Comes to Tribeca

High above North Moore Street, window cleaner Chris Taylor turns upside to get his squeegee just where he wants it on the Greenwich Hotel. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Aug. 31, 2015

Casually swinging in wide arcs around and above the corner of North Moore and Greenwich Streets, Chris Taylor was getting ready to land. Flying, Superman-like, to a second-floor ledge, the window cleaner manipulated his ropes, then dropped to the sidewalk and disappeared into the building.

“That’s no way to earn a buck!” said a passerby who had been watching Taylor’s seeming daring moves, suspended from the roof of Tribeca’s Greenwich Hotel.

But for Taylor, 40, rapelling buildings as high as 60 stories and getting his squeegee into hard-to-reach spots—even if it means flipping upside down in mid-air and slinging his body every which way to do it—has been providing him with a living, and fun, for 20 years.

“The difference between me and other window cleaners is I actually enjoy my job,” said Taylor, who began his career as a teenager, working for his uncle in Mississippi.

Taylor, who is employed by Aerial Cleaning Co., said he’s always been “a rope person.”

“When I was younger and I’d get in trouble my dad would send me to Army boot camp. I was pretty good with the ropes and still am.”

His “fun jobs,” he said, have been in Seattle where he worked for 10 years. There, the sky’s the limit on how high cleaners can work perched on narrow seats attached to freely hanging ropes. In New York City, Taylor said, windows above 75 feet must be reached by scaffold.

Even from those 50- and 60-story buildings, he said, he has no fear. If the rope from his harness fails, there is an independent safety line. And the ropes, he noted, are tested for up to 10,000 pounds.

“So a car would pretty much have to drag me off the building,” he said with a wide smile.

While few people would have the nerve or skill to do Taylor’s job, many could appreciate the benefits.

“I love the freedom of hanging in the air without having to really deal with people,” he said, “to take my time and enjoy the weather.”