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Teen Arrested for Climbing 1,300-Foot Skyscraper to Take Instagram Photos

By Rachelle Blidner | September 30, 2014 2:18pm
 Demid Lebedev, 17, has posted Instagram photos he took from atop skyscrapers in New York City including 432 Park Ave.
Demid Lebedev's Photos From Skyscrapers
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MANHATTAN — A Queens teen was arrested Monday night after climbing one of the tallest buildings in the city in a bid to take his Instagram photography to new heights, police said.

Demid Lebedev, 17, was charged with criminal trespass and reckless endangerment after he scaled 432 Park Ave., a residential tower that is under construction, and took a set of dizzying photos that he posted to his Instagram account, police said. The building, which will stand 1,396 feet tall when it is complete, will be the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere after One World Trade Center.

Lebedev, who calls himself an "Urban Historian" on his Instagram page, posted photos from what appears to be the top of 432 Park Ave. on Sept. 23. One photo captured the clouds above the skyline, and Lebedev captioned it: “I went to heaven and back.”

Police brought Lebedev in for questioning after finding information online that linked him to trespassing, a police spokesman said. Lebedev admitted to being at 432 Park Ave. without permission and was charged at the Midtown North Precinct stationhouse at 10:20 p.m. Monday, police said.

Because Lebedev may be charged as a juvenile, court officials said they could not give information about his arraignment.

It does not appear to be the first time Lebedev has climbed sky-high for his craft. Lebedev’s Instagram account is filled with images taken from the top of the city skyline. In some pictures, his feet dangle over the edge of skyscrapers.

Lebedev did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesman for 432 Park Ave. declined to comment.

Lebedev's arrest was the latest in a series of security breaches by adventure-seekers at New York icons this year.

A Russian tourist was arrested in August after allegedly scaling the Brooklyn Bridge to take a selfie. A few weeks earlier, two German artists took responsibility for replacing the American flags on the bridge with two white flags, but they have not been arrested.

One World Trade Center has also drawn trespassers, including four men who were arrested for parachuting off the skyscraper last year, and 16-year-old Justin Casquejo, who scaled the tower in March.

Casquejo took to Instagram on Tuesday to defend teen climbers, apparently prompted by Lebedev's arrest.

“When we start sending kids to jail for enjoying a unique, amazing perspective and trying to share that perspective, we not only ruin their lives, but we also harm their passion,” he wrote in a caption.