NBC News Story Bringing Niagara Falls to Millions Ignored by State Parks, NTCC, Dyster

On the occasions that Niagara Falls is featured on Good Morning America or Entertainment Tonight, profiled in People magazine or plugged on a travel website like TripAdvisor, the collective public relations apparatus of the city, State Parks and the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation (NTCC) usually takes notice.

Whether it’s a Wallenda walk, an episode of “The Office”, visit by some royal or other celebrity to the falls or yet another meaningless tourism award for Maid of the Mist and its twenty-minute boat ride – the media coverage is invariably deemed desirable and momentous, and guaranteed to be touted by the local professional tourism bureaucracy as greatly promoting Niagara Falls as a vacation destination, enhancing the fortunes of the local tourist industry. Often, the NTCC takes credit for helping engineer the publicity, as if the millions of tourists who visit the world-famous attraction every year do so significantly because of the labors of John Percy and his crack media relations staff.

Therefore, it would seem something of a mystery why the tourism powers-at-be, in conjunction with local dailies and other news outlets, utterly failed to hype the fact that Niagara Falls figured prominently on a national network news show a couple of weeks ago. Normally, the kind of thing that the NTCC, State Parks and certain city officials like Mayor Paul Dyster would be falling over each other issuing press releases and plastering all over Facebook and other social media. On closer examination, however, it becomes clear why they instead opted to totally ignore a national TV News broadcast that put Niagara Falls front and center for millions of Americans at the very start of the tourist season.

On Wednesday evening, June 8, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt introduced a segment entitled, “Meet the Man Responsible for How Much Water Comes from Niagara Falls”.

“If you’ve been to Niagara Falls, then you know first-hand the sheer power of the spectacular force of nature,” intones Holt.

“Niagara Falls, one of the great natural wonders of the world” continues correspondent Harry Smith, narrating over breathtaking footage of the falls. “Every day hordes of plastic-ponchoed tourists purposely get as close as they can get. Spoiler alert… they get really wet!”lester-holt

While the two-minute segment focuses primarily on water diversion as it impacts hydropower production on both sides of the border, the entire first thirty seconds of the clip prominently show tourists clad in ponchos getting drenched by the invigorating spray on tour boats below the
falls. In fact, most of the interview with “the Man Responsible for How Much Water Comes from Niagara Falls”, an individual by the name of Peter Kowalski, takes place on the boat, Smith and Kowalski shouting into the microphone in order to be heard over the roar of the cataracts,
their pink ponchos flapping in the strong updrafts at the base of the falls.

That’s right, pink. And as legendary radio host Paul Harvey used to say, now you know the rest of the story.

In a grievous affront to the sensibilities of Maid of the Mist owner James Glynn and his facilitators Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster and NTCC chief John Percy, NBC news, interviewing Canadian Kowalski on the other side of the border, committed the ultimate faux pas by simply

NBC featured Niagara Falls on its Nightly News broadcast two weeks ago. Nobody took notice so as not to trod on Maid of the Mist owner Jimmy Glynn’s feelings.

NBC featured Niagara Falls on its Nightly News broadcast two weeks ago. Nobody took notice so as not to trod on Maid of the Mist owner Jimmy Glynn’s feelings.

stepping onto a convenient Hornblower boat on the Canadian side (pink ponchos) for purposes of the story, filming on the sleek Hornblower catamarans rather than paying homage to Glynn and his antiquated fleet of floating barges, on which tourists are packed like sardines (blue ponchos).

An investigative series by Frank Parlato in the Niagara Falls Reporter seven years ago exposed Glynn’s alleged corrupt relationship with the Canadian Niagara Parks Commission, which was caught secretly gifting him a new lease for Maid of the Mist, and then attempting to cover it up. Casualties of the resultant scandal included the Commission chairman and general manager, who both resigned in disgrace, the NPC business development director who, along with four commissioners, was fired, and the remaining four members of the board who were “replaced”. Around the same time, Parlato exposed the astonishing fact that, under the terms of its 2002 contract, New York State Parks was actually paying Glynn rent for using the Observation Tower in the Niagara Falls State Park, instead of the other way around.

Jimmy Glynn’s lease for the Canadian side was revoked, depriving him of winter dry dock quarters for his boats. Enter Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who set aside both SEQRA public process and a National Historic Landmark designation so that Glynn could have a new boatyard at the Schoellkopf site, with the active support of Mayor Paul Dyster, who dismissed those objecting to new Maid infrastructure in the Niagara Gorge as “self-haters”. Hornblower has a $100 million standing offer to New York State in excess of what Glynn presently pays, if the state opens the bidding process on the attraction.

Glynn has unchallenged power and influence over the local tourism industry, thanks in large part to his control of the politicians and monopoly over Niagara Falls State Park.

Coming in #1 in the TV ratings for the week, over 7.8 million viewers nationally saw the June 8 NBC News report on Niagara Falls.

You heard about it here, in the Reporter, and nowhere else.

8 Comments

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