Dopes on a Rope: Urban Explorers Climb Two Chicago Construction Cranes

There’s something about being young that makes you believe that you’re indestructible.  I can’t be all that critical of the feeling, because when I was a youth, I ate so many Doritos my corpse will never decompose.

At least I had the sense not to climb to the top of a 900-foot-tall construction crane.  That’s just stupid.

But that’s just what a youthful “urban explorer” codenamed Ugly Steffy did recently in Chicago.  Twice.

Screengrab of "Ugly Steffy." Name checks out.

Screengrab of “Ugly Steffy.” Name checks out.

He and an accomplice went up to the top of the cranes at One Bennett Park and Essex on the Park, and posted videos of themselves and their trips on YouTube. Because no police officer in history has ever heard of YouTube.  And no police agency in America has facial recognition software.  Except for the ones that do.

Screengrab of Ugly Steffy fudging his Huggies.

Screengrab of Ugly Steffy fudging his Huggies.

If you want to see their adventures, click the links to the videos below (we’re not going to embed the videos here).  Or if you’re disgusted by their actions, don’t.  Because viewing the videos will increment their “view” counter, which is the whole reason stupid people do stupid things on YouTube.

June dumbassery at Essex on the Park

July dumbassery at One Bennett Park

Mr. Ugly makes a big deal about this being “CHICAGO!” which leads us to believe he’s not actually from Chicago.  Possibly a tourist.  Or yet another suburban college student who tells people he’s from “Chicago” because nobody outside of Illinois has ever heard of Aurora.

Though Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber seem pleased with their experiences, they’re actually lame compared with their predecessors.  You may remember a few years ago, someone climbed to the top of a construction crane behind Tribune Tower in the middle of the night and parachuted down to Pioneer Court.  Allegedly while wearing a cape.  That guy was a hero.  These guys are wannabes.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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