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JULY 08 - JULY 16, 2014

Monument Observing Wallenda Walk now Permanent Fixture on Olmsted's Goat Island Reservation

By James Hufnagel

July 08, 2014

Yet another monument on Goat Island.

Yesterday the press, the politicians and a couple dozen fans turned out for the dedication of a large plaque mounted on a boulder in the Niagara Falls State Park commemorating the daredevil highwire walk of Nik Wallenda over the Falls. While the warm feelings towards Wallenda and gratitude for his accomplishment, and the boost the worldwide exposure it provided to Niagara Falls tourism remain fresh in everyones' minds and hearts, it's necessary to point out that Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of the Niagara Falls State Park, specifically prohibited monuments, statuary or plaques from the Goat Island preserve in his visionary plan. "Suppose that a costly object of art like that of the Statue of Liberty should be tendered to the state on condition that it should be set up on Goat Island," Olmsted wrote, "(we must refuse it) as surely as we would an offer to stock the island with poison ivy or with wolves and bear."

Nik Wallenda addresses the press surrounded by (except for one individual) the people who helped make his wirewalk possible. L-R Roger Trevino, Paul Dyster, George Maziarz, Wallenda, John Ceretto. The record shows Dyster fought tooth and nail to prevent the Wallenda walk, (He even sent him a bill afterward) but is happy to pose with him, now that it is recorded in history as a success.

Eight million tourists visit Niagara Falls State Park every year. They enter on a dedicated roadway, park on one of 1200 parking spaces, ride one of James Glynn's taxpayer-subsidized Maid of the Mist barges, chow down on heart-clogging Delaware North fast food, thumb quarters into coin-operated binoculars purchase souvenirs and then leave after the three or four hour visit called for in State Parks' business model for the park, with little need or reason to access or spend money in the city of Niagara Falls, one of the poorest cities in the northeastern United States. It's a shame that this permanent monument to Wallenda's courageous walk will simply contribute to this scenario rather than do anything to enhance the quality of life of the people who actually live here.

Gov. Cuomo's Regional Economic Development czar Sam Hoyt applauds the politicians, as the politicians applaud Sam Hoyt.





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