A large article on the front page of USA today that covers the upcoming stunt as well as the sad state of the American side (though they do a poor job of differentiating the US side from the Canadian).http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations ... 55528656/1
Not so death-defying
Buffalo News columnist Rod Watson says the public was "duped" and hotels "should offer full refunds to anyone who cancels after finding out the death-defying feat they thought they were coming to see will be nothing of the sort."
No one is more dismissive of the tether than Wallenda, who says he will wear it because he has to, even though "I feel like I'm cheating" and the device invites failure: "If you think you can fall, you're more likely to. You have a different attitude." And it's not what his audience expects: "People don't watch NASCAR just to see a car race."
Of course, Wallenda could be setting the stage for an even more dramatic feat: to detach the tether once he's out on the wire, finish without it and dare ABC to do anything about it. He's said he'd have to be able to jettison the tether if he feels it's compromising his safety. "I have never in my life walked with a harness," Wallenda says. The weight of the tether, he jokes, "makes it feel like I'm dragging an anchor behind me.''
Some are rooting for him to drop the harness, TV contract or not. "I think as soon as he gets out there, he'll take it off," says Freddy Arnold, 49, a construction worker who was one of hundreds who came to watch Wallenda practice in the parking lot. "He can't let television tell him what to do." Wallenda says no. "I don't foresee that happening at this point. I have given ABC my word," he says
Today, the city is old and poor; two of three residents subsist largely on welfare or Social Security, according to Census studies.
Even the Falls District, next to the state park, is pockmarked by empty lots, closed businesses and abandoned houses. Can Wallenda help change the city's luck? "For a weekend," Dyster says, "the world's attention will focus on Niagara Falls."
The world may not like what it sees, according to Ginger Strand, a cultural historian who has studied Niagara. "Everyone already knows all about the falls, but they don't realize how bad the city is," she says. "An American who arrives there is immediately appalled and embarrassed for the nation and hurries to the Canadian side."
Wallenda's walk will have one bit of unfortunate symbolism. Like many tourists, he'll start on the American side but wind up in Canada.