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John William Warde

Jan 25, 2015

July 26, 1938 – Today, clinically depressed John William Warde (26) kept New York in suspense for hours while standing precariously on the 17th floor window ledge of the New York Gotham hotel, hesitating about killing himself. Thousands of onlookers (plus about 300 policemen and several press photographers) gathered on the street corners below.


Police and firemen kept trying to talk him back in, but (afraid he would jump if they tried to get a hold on him) they didn’t dare to touch him.

From the next window his sister (photo above) pleaded with him; a psychiatrist tried talking to him while giving him a drink with some tranquillizers dropped in, and a policeman kept a friendly conversation going for hours on end.

Warde was given coffee, cigarettes, and handed a telephone horn to talk to his mother on the line. Nothing helped to get him back inside.

In the evening, when Warde had stood for 11 hours on the ledge, firemen began to rig up a safety net from the windows just below him. Minutes before the net was pulled in place, Warde suddenly took his fatal plunge. Bouncing off the hotel’s entrance marquee, he fell to his death on the side-walk.