JUMP

Under Cover of Night, Local Daredevils Bungee off City Bridges

J.T. has jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge as well as the old parachute jump at Coney Island. Other sites the cousins have jumped include the Red Hook silos and the 59th Street and Kosciuszko bridges. Their wish list? "The Roosevelt Island tram," says J.T., and "the Verrazano." But unlike O'Mahony, Riley says, "we do it strictly for ourselves."

O'Mahony is unique. The only renegade jumper in the city who brings along amateurs, he feels he's giving those strangers a lifetime experience. "What I give to people--the jump--they can take that with them wherever they go. If they can convince themselves that they're going to be all right, that they're going to tempt fate and live--it's a decision. People want to feel that rush. We live in a world where gravity holds us down. We crave to fall and be free."

O'Mahony stands behind his bungee proselytizing. "I would put my life first so a person could avoid going through pain," he says. Is O'Mahony the last altruistic man in New York? Maybe. But maybe the combat veteran whose father died from AIDS is working out some demons of his own. When he boasts, "I own the Manhattan Bridge. It's my house of worship," he's telling the truth.

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