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 Links of the Day:

– Regular readers know I’m disturbed by the Nik Wallenda walk over Niagara Falls. I am astounded politicians are willing to let a man die to fill up hotel rooms and generate tourist dollars. His sponsors had the sense to insist he be tethered to the wire, but now there’s talk he may unhook it! The Buffalo News quotes a state senator who’s not exactly concerned:

But a slew of officials surrounding the spectacle say the daredevil might just tempt fate above the Mighty Niagara by unhooking the harness when he is part way across.

“I’m betting he takes it off,” said State Sen. George D. Maziarz. “I guess we’ll see.”

It would be the ultimate reality TV, with hundreds of thousands of onlookers — not to mention sponsors — holding their breath, and maybe shielding their eyes.

Nearly 200 feet above the swirling river without a harness, Wallenda would put to rest any notion that his stunt is anything less than death-defying.

Even Las Vegas is not putting odds on this thing. Why? Because it’s not okay to bet on death.

Of course, I hope Wallenda succeeds tonight. If he does, I hope this doesn’t start a precedent of death-defying stunts. If he doesn’t, we ought to be ashamed.

West side of downtown is mostly parking lots.

– Downtown Rochester has too many parking lots. In a piece called “Rochester’s Unique Place in the Rustbelt Revival,” an outsider observes:

But like many similarly damaged industrial cities, Rochester is missing the cartilage needed to connect all those bones and add strength to the whole. More than 60 percent of downtown is devoted to parking. How much city can exist between the dead spaces of parking lots? Rochester isn’t even talking about transit, although it has the classic Main Street spine on which to start at least one segment. Even car-dependent cities such as Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles have discovered the virtue of bringing back transit.

So yes, in Rochester and similar faded industrial cities, the bones are there. But every city like Rochester has to first learn that the big projects never meet their expectations, the small ones always exceed theirs and real regeneration builds momentum with investment in people.

– The Buffalo News is going being a paywall. Thanks, Warren Buffett.

– This is what economic development looks like these days. A job fair for part-time, low-paying mall jobs attracts hundreds in Syracuse.

– There are toy boats on Rochester’s reservoirs. The reason may surprise you.

7 Responses to Unhooked From Common Sense

  1. June 15, 2012 at 10:29 am Reggie Henderson responds:

    You want to know the truly death defying stunt? Driving a car! A tightrope across the falls is a spectacle. I don’t think people watch daredevils, car races, or football to see people get hurt (I can’t say the same for spectators of boxing and those octogon cage human fights). I look at tightrope walking more like gymnastics or the circus, humans rising above it all!

  2. June 15, 2012 at 10:33 am James Simons responds:

    A couple things. In regards to the Atlantic article, she seems to have glossed over some of the reasoning for events. I did like how she was surprised that there is zero talk by local government regarding bringing real transit back to this city. And by real I mean rail. Cities of all shapes and sizes are bringing back different forms of rail transit. If Kenosha, Wisconsin can do it surely we can. However, our leaders are blind to this issue.

    Rachel, I am starting to get really sad over the state of journalism in local papers. Many D&C articles are little more than press releases and I seen now that the Syracuse Post-Standard is no different. That article had zero critical analysis of the job fair. You were able to offer more critique in one sentence than they did in an entire article. Funny how it is mentioned by several people attending the fair that salaries and wages were not discussed.

  3. Wallendas have fallen to their deaths previously He will be no exception.

  4. June 15, 2012 at 10:56 am Jim Webster responds:

    I’m with you on the Wallenda stunt, Rach. And I really hope he’s not so foolish to unhook his lifeline. I know I won’t be watching.

  5. The stunt itself does not bother me. The fact that so many people are more excited about his taking the completely unnecessary risk of walking without the tether than the display of skill it will take to walk that tightrope with or without the tether. I usually have a positive outlook on humanity, but this cruelly morbid attitude makes me wonder.

  6. I agree with you concerning the Wallenda stunt. I actually met his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, when he was in Rochester in 1976. He was interviewed during the morning show I was part of on WAXC. Sadly, Karl died two years later, while performing a dangerous stunt in Puerto Rico.

    Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walk reminds me of the stunts that were performed by the late Houdini. He nearly died during some of them, and had to be rescued. Houdini ultimately died of a ruptured appendix in the midst of stunt in which he was immersed in water.

    I hope Nik Wallenda survives this evening’s stunt. The fact that he will be tied to a safety device is no guarantee he will survive. His biggest obstacles will be winds over the falls and the extreme difficulty involved in rescuing him if something goes wrong.

  7. June 15, 2012 at 2:42 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    I totally agree about nik wallenda is should not be allowed. i predict eventually you will see someone commit sucide on PPV an Mit Rommeny will congratulate him for his initive and ambition.

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