Today’s the day that Nik Wallenda of the famous “Flying Wallenda” family will walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. He needed a special exemption from the state legislature to do this, since it’s normally forbidden. As the New York Times reports:
In some ways, Mr. Wallenda’s walk is more audacious than those of his 19th-century predecessors. His rope has been set right above the falls, which throw off enough spray to drench those on the shoreline. By comparison, walkers like Jean Francois Gravelet, better known as “the Great Blondin,” walked across a tamer part of the gorge.
From the Boston Herald:
“It’s happening. This is going to be the biggest event on the planet!” said Jim Diodati, mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Such hyperbole has fueled Wallenda mania, bringing flashing highway signs warning of Wallenda-related traffic jams and crowds gawking at cranes holding Wallenda’s 2-inch-wide cable taut over the roiling blue water.
Stadium-style lights were focused on the cable, which will sway several inches back and forth in the wind and bounce up and down. Midway through the 40-minute walk, Wallenda is expected to be wrapped in a bone-chilling fog far harsher than the soaking mist that showers visitors to the Falls.
The walk should take about 40 minutes.
But unlike his predecessors, some seen in the video below, Wallenda isn’t in much danger, for he’ll be wearing safety equipment (he damn well should—he’s got three young children).
Along the falls, there was much discussion of the safety harness that ABC, which is televising the walk Friday night, has insisted Mr. Wallenda wear. The Disney Corporation, which owns ABC, does not want a man to fall to his death on live television.
Here’s a brief video history of Niagara Falls daredevils:
But for me, the whole stunt was spoiled by Wallenda’s insistence that he’s doing God’s will: