It’s About Time Someone Risked Death for New York’s Entertainment

1876: 23 year old Maria Spelterini crosses the gorge below Niagara Falls on a tightrope, blindfolded and with weights attached to her feet. The only woman to have performed the feat (Blondin did it first in 1859), she also crossed the 1000 ft gorge backwards as an audience watched from the banks and nearby bridge. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images) Photo: Three Lions

While equality for gay people is getting all the attention right now for some reason, the most important unresolved issue before New York's legislature is being completely overshadowed. We speak, of course, of the petition by high-wire daredevil Nik Wallenda to traverse the Niagara Gorge on a tightrope. In the nineteenth century, when words like safety and lawsuits barely existed, tightrope walkers crossed the gorge on a regular basis. Sometimes, as in the image above, they were even blindfolded and weighted down, which just seems impossible. But then New York became a buzzkill and banned the stunt.

Now, tempted by the lure of tourist money and the possibility of seeing something really awful happen, the State Senate has passed a law specifically allowing Wallenda to tightrope-walk across the gorge one time before the end of August, and the Assembly may vote on the bill soon. "There's always a risk of danger," assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak, the bill's sponsor, says, but Wallenda "is not going to do anything reckless or careless," aside from walking over a giant gorge.

NY Lawmakers Weigh Request For Niagara Falls Stunt [AP]