NY OKs Niagara Falls tightrope walk

Sept. 24, 2011 at 2:56 PM
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ALBANY, N.Y., Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Nik Wallenda won permission from New York state Saturday to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill approved by lawmakers in June giving Wallenda New York's OK for him to walk 1,800 feet across the falls on a 2-inch-wide steel cable, The Buffalo News reported.

But Wallenda, 32, still needs approval from officials on the Canadian side of the falls.

"For me, it's as big as it gets," said Wallenda after Cuomo signed the bill. "There's tears in my eyes because it's a dream come true.''

Wallenda, who wants to walk across the falls in June, said he'll wait until after upcoming Canadian elections to formally apply with Ontario parks officials.

If Canada rejects his bid, he'll walk only on the U.S. side of the falls, he says.

"The dream is to walk U.S. to Canada, but as an entertainer, walking U.S. to U.S. is more impressive and dangerous,'' he said, noting the rocks below the falls on the New York side.

The New York legislation would allow Wallenda to depart from Goat Island for the tightrope walk just in front of Horseshoe Falls to a terrace outside the visitors center on the Canadian side.

The Niagara Parks Commission in Niagara Falls, Ontario, said Wallenda hasn't applied for the walk but officials have pointed to the agency's long record of disapproving such stunts over Niagara Falls.

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