– 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.
– 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.