2008-10-10 / Top Stories

Ex-Local Indicted For Climbing Times Building

By Howard Schwach

Ray Clarke, a 32-year-old man who grew up in Rockaway, was indicted in Manhattan Criminal Court this week on criminal charges in relation to his June 5 stunt in which he climbed the side of the 52-story New York Times Building in Manhattan.

In August, a grand jury voted to indict Clarke on three counts, the most serious of which was a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment, which could land the ex-Rockaway resident in jail for a year.

Clarke, who attended PS 104 in Bayswater and Far Rockaway High School, underwent a psychiatric hearing at Bellevue Hospital prior to his arraignment.

Climbing Times Building

He told doctors, and anybody else who would listen, that he wanted to bring attention to the fight against malaria.

Clarke said that he began his climbing career by scaling the rocks in Central Park. He told police that he got involved in extreme sports like snowboarding and mountain biking, and that he had "secretly" climbed other tall structures, such as the Hearst Building and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Clarke's father, Renaldo Clarke, Sr., was a member of the Bayswater Patrol and its parent body, the Bayswater Civic Association, for years before retiring from Con Edison and moving three years ago to Atlanta, Georgia.

The senior Clarke was also a political activist and the president of the Far Rockaway High School PTA.

Clarke told reporters that he was watching "some silly guy climb the side of the building," when a reporter for an Atlanta station reported that the man's T-shirt said something about malaria.

He said that he shouted to his wife, Connie, "It's Ray on the building."

They watched as their son reached the top and was arrested by members of the NYPD's ESU.

"I want everybody to know that my son is not a nut," the elder Clarke told an Atlanta newspaper. "He's strong and he's not afraid of anything. He climbed the Brooklyn Bridge a few years ago, and I had a talk with him. I guess I'm going to have another one of those talks."

Clarke said that his son became passionate about malaria when the head of the engineering firm for which he works began championing the cause. During the climb, Clarke wore a Tshirt that read, "Malaria No More."

The elder Clarke said that he learned from reporters that his son had climbed three other buildings, but he wasn't sure where they were.

He is sure, however, that there will not be a fifth.

"That's not going to happen," he said.

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