By DON GLYNN
Niagara Gazette — One of the intriguing questions about Nik Wallenda is where he’ll eventually land.
That’s not to suggest any fall from a future high wire performance after his success, first crossing over the Horseshoe Falls and then, last weekend, near the Grand Canyon. Instead, it’s where he may decide to locate some attraction (e.g., a museum or a training and performance center) in Niagara Falls. Listen to state Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, and there’s no doubt that Wallenda will opt for a place in this city’s South End, perhaps within walking distance of the nation’s oldest state park.
Meanwhile it is common knowledge that Niagara Falls, Ont., Mayor Jim Diodati and tourism leaders in that city would gladly welcome another attraction with Wallenda as the headliner. Although he has reportedly talked with some officials on the Ontario side — no specifics dislosed — Wallenda is firmly committed to Niagara Falls, N.Y., Maziarz contends.
Regardless which side Wallenda chooses — if he ever does — Diodati is convinced it will prove a solid boost to tourism. Still the mayor couldn’t resist mentioning that our sister city across the border has some 16,000 hotel rooms, almost triple here. (For the record, several new or refurbished hotel projects are on this city’s drawing boards.)
“It would be great to have a ‘kind of ‘permanent seasonal’ attraction,” Diodati said, noting that it would undoubtedly have widespread appeal like the famous Cirque du Soliel, an international group of circus acts, acrobatics and entertainment that originated in Canada. Formed in 1984, it has expanded to shows in more than 40 countries.
In an interview Friday, “Capital Tonight” (YNN-TV) anchor Liz Benjamin wondered how Mazariz, who had attended the event on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, could even watch the walk without getting nervous.” You could have been witness to something really awful — potentially,” Benjamin added. The senator explained that Wallenda had full confidence that he would be successful. About two hours before the walk was to start, Maziarz stepped outside his hotel and spotted Wallenda pitching horseshoes with his (crew) team. “That how’s calm he was. If that was me, I would have been at Mass, on my knees and saying the rosary,” Maziarz quipped.
Wallend’s next outing? He’s told some friends that he would like to stroll between two New York City skyscrapers, perhaps from the Empire State Building to the Chrysler Building.
New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is less than excited about that idea.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “If Nik Wallenda really wants a challenge, he should try crossing the political divide in Washington” — an editorial cartoon in the New York Post.
HELPING HANDS DEPT.: Old Fort Niagara needs volunteers to help with the historic site’s annual French & Indian War Encampment set for next weekend, A spokesman said wide-ranging duties include parking, registration, admission, food service, the museum shop and crowd control. If you can help for one day or even a few hours, you’re asked to call Brian McDonald at 745-7611, ext. 229. The French & Indian War is one of the biggest events of the year at the landmark fortress.
QUICKIE QUIZ: Name the two large passenger boats that operated for many years between Buffalo, N.Y., and Crystal Beach, Ont. (Answer Thursday).Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.