NIAGARA FALLS - High wire artist Nick Wallenda is one step closer to making his daredevil trek across Niagara Falls.
State Senator George Maziarz tells 2 On Your Side that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Friday that had been passed overwhelmingly by state legislators, which essentially gives special permission for a one-time lifting of a state law banning stunts at Niagara Falls State Park.
But the deal is not sealed quite yet. Canadian officials have yet to sign off on the event. If Wallenda does not get permission from the Canadians to walk across the border, some have suggested the daredevil may simply walk across the American side of the Falls.
After meeting with state and local officials in Niagara Falls, New York for the better part of two hours last month, Nik Wallenda and his team had pretty much been given the green light -on this side of the border--for his plan to traverse the Horseshoe Falls on a two inch tight rope next year.
"On this side of the border, we are on board with Nik and his team to get this done," said NY State Senator Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo) whose district includes Niagara Falls.
"One thing that was passed on from generation to generation in my family, over seven generations in 200 years, was 'never give up'," Wallenda told reporters at the Top Of The Falls restaurant on Goat Island.
"Every walk that I do there's obstacles in the way, there's always somebody or something that comes across negative....it's a process just like it's a process over here. And we will meet with them tomorrow, and open the doors hopefully a little wider, and we will begin that process," Wallenda said.
If permitted to do so, Wallenda would begin his walk from Goat Island near the larger of the two mighty cataracts which make up Niagara Falls.
"My dream is actually to walk right in the middle of that mist and just disappear and walk out the other end to be honest," said Wallenda, estimating the approximately 1,800 ft. walk on a two inch diameter wire would take about 45 minutes from start to finish.
If the Canadian authorities do not grant permission, Wallenda revealed that, while it would not be his preference to do so, rigging his wire across the face or above the American Falls is within the realm of possibilities.
Such a move would not require the blessing of Canada.
"We always have a backup plan... it could be the American Falls," Wallenda told WGRZ-TV.
Wallenda says he'd prefer to do the walk in the late spring or early summer.
He doesn't care much about the conditions for his sake, but would favor a nice, sunny, warm, day in deference to the crowds which would come to watch him.
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