Three cheers for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who on Friday signed legislation into law that will almost certainly result in a tightrope walk by daredevil Nik Wallenda sometime next summer.
While the Ontario government has not yet signed off on the spectacle, Wallenda now is free to cross the American Falls from Goat Island to Prospect Point, and has vowed to do so should the Canadian approval not be forthcoming.
"The dream is to walk U.S. to Canada, but as an entertainer, walking U.S. to U.S. is more impressive and dangerous,'' Wallenda said.
While a number of daredevils and accident victims have gone over the Canadian Falls and lived to tell the tale, the large boulders at the base of the American Falls have prevented anyone from taking the plunge there with a happy result.
In 2009, Wallenda tightrope-walked across Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, an exhibition of skill that drew 160,000 spectators. His Niagara Falls performance, which is being underwritten by the Discovery Channel, should draw at least that many.
"Between the Discovery Channel promotion and the international attention this is getting, I think it's unlimited," said state Sen. George Maziarz. "Niagara Falls is a much better venue than crossing Three Rivers."
State Assemblyman John Ceretto, who sponsored the legislation in the Assembly, agreed.
"This event will bring global attention to Niagara Falls and will provide a needed boost to the region's tourism industry," he said. "This is exactly the type of game-changing event we needed to help rebuild the American side of Niagara Falls and make it a premier tourism destination and a region of economic growth."
The governor's approval came as a blow to retired schoolteacher Paul Gromosiak and newspaper columnist Don Glynn, who vociferously opposed the event for different reasons. Gromosiak, an author of children's books about the falls at one time, simply loves getting his name in the newspaper, while Glynn just hates to see anyone who doesn't share his surname making money inside the boundaries of Niagara Falls State Park.
State Sen. Mark Grisanti, another sponsor of the legislation, couldn't disagree more with Gromosiak and Glynn.
"Nik Wallenda is an incredibly talented individual who is at the absolute top of his field," he said. "We should welcome him with open arms in Niagara Falls and allow him to put on a great show."
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||Sept. 27, 2011|