Official Press Release from New York State Parks Regarding June 15 Walk

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12238

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   CONTACT: Angela P. Berti
May 29, 2012                                                                 716-278-1764 (desk)
                                                                                        716-704-6270 (cell)

 

FREE TICKETS WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE STARTING JUNE 1 FOR WALLENDA WALK VIEWING AREA IN NIAGARA FALLS STATE PARK

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced that free vouchers for access to the Terrapin Point area of Goat Island for Nik Wallenda’s historic high-wire walk over Niagara Falls on June 15, 2012 will be available starting Friday, June 1 at 9 a.m.

The Terrapin Point area can safely accommodate 4,000 spectators.  Free tickets for public access to the Terrapin Point area will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis for interested spectators who pre-order through the website www.walkthefalls.com. Spectators will be limited to a maximum of five free vouchers per email address. 

Vouchers secured via the website can be redeemed for a wristband on June 15. Beginning at 9 a.m., wristbands can be picked up at the following locations in the State Park:  The Niagara Falls State Park Visitor Center and the Cave of the Winds Information Kiosk.  In addition, starting at 11 a.m., vouchers can be redeemed for wristbands at the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation Visitor Information Tent, located temporarily on Old Falls St. between Rainbow Blvd and Prospect St. in the City of Niagara Falls. There is no cash value for the voucher or wristband. 

“We are very excited to be hosting this historic event and are focused on providing a safe and enjoyable experience for the patrons that come to witness Nik’s walk,” said Commissioner Rose Harvey. “We are pleased that  Governor Cuomo has allowed us to offer spectators a chance to witness history at no charge.”

Wristbands will provide access to the event area at Terrapin Point on Goat Island in Niagara Falls State Park beginning at 6 p.m. on June 15. Wallenda is expected to walk the Falls just after 10 p.m. and it is expected to take about 35 minutes for him to traverse the nearly 1,800 feet across the Niagara Gorge.  The event will occur rain or shine, although New York State Parks will retain the right to limit spectator viewing in the event of severe weather. Wristband holders will not be permitted to bring coolers, bottles, cans or large bags into the event area. Spectators will be accommodated in lawn seating, and will be allowed to bring portable folding chairs or blankets into the Terrapin Point viewing area.

Terrapin Point is the only area within Niagara Falls State Park from which spectators will have a clear view of Wallenda’s walk. Access to the Terrapin Point area is being limited to 4,000 spectators to protect visitor safety and accommodate equipment for Wallenda’s operation.

With the exception of Terrapin Point, where access will be limited to those possessing wristbands, all other portions of Niagara Falls State Park will be open to the public on a normal basis.  Wristbands are not required for access to other areas of the park.  The City of Niagara Falls is providing large screens for public viewing of the broadcast of the walk on Old Falls Street, directly adjacent to the State Park at Prospect Street.

It is expected that parking will be very limited in the park on June 15 and that traffic conditions getting to the park will be congested as the day progresses. Spectators are urged to arrive in the city early and enjoy the Park as well as the family oriented Sideshow activities going on in the City of Niagara Falls on Old Falls Street beginning at 11 a.m. Attractions in Niagara Falls State Park will be functioning as usual all day on June 15 as well.  Those planning to attend this event are urged to stay up to date on parking, traffic conditions and event information at www.walkthefalls.com and by tuning in to local media reports throughout the day.

People without computer access can call to request vouchers at 1-877-325-5787 ext. 337 beginning on June 1 at 9 a.m.

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By senecawallenda

Nik Wallenda Update – 5-24-12

Seneca Casinos connected with Nik Wallenda earlier this morning via text message to catch up with the “King of the High Wire.”  Nik returned home to Sarasota, Florida (see photo above), on Tuesday evening after 11 straight days of training on a 55-foot high, 1,200-feet long, two-inch-thick high-wire at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel.

What have you enjoyed most about being back in Sarasota?
Being able to sleep without a camera in my face.

What have you NOT missed about Niagara Falls?
I really enjoyed being in Niagara Falls but the media was a bit overwhelming.

Any update on making the harness for the June 15 walk?
The harness is still being engineered right now.

Is the family happy to be back home?
YES.  It’s always great to be back in your own home and sleep in your own bed.  For me, [this past] Tuesday was the first night I had a full night’s sleep in two weeks.

We’ll give Nik some much-needed peace and quiet through the Memorial Day weekend, and will check in again early next week.

By senecawallenda

Nik Wallenda Training: Day 11 — Final Day!

Hundreds of onlookers — if not, more than a thousand people — enjoyed one last opportunity this morning to see Nik Wallenda train at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel for his historic June 15 walk over Niagara Falls.  It was a bittersweet end for Nik, as he was quick to note that he would really miss the crowds but also desperately needed a break.  Severe physical and mental exhaustion had set in, and Nik struggled a bit on the high-wire with an aching back and hamstring muscle.  He then announced during the noon press/public daily debriefing that he unfortunately was cancelling the afternoon’s final training session.

Nik certainly did not disappoint morning attendees, however.  He completely scaled the high-wire from end-to-end and back, and signed seemingly-endless autographs and posed for photos upon completion of the debriefing. 

Perhaps to no surprise, the largest contingent of media arrived since the training sessions began.  In addition to all local television stations and major newspapers, a crew with CNN covered the entire morning session.  Also in attendance were China Central TV, ABC News 20/20, TCT (Total Christian Television), and the Associated Press.

We learned some final tidbits of information before Nik left with his family for the Buffalo Niagara International Airport to take an early-evening flight home to Sarasota, Florida:

  • Nik thought he accomplished everything he wanted and more with the training sessions.  “I learned how cable would interact,” he said, “and I’m extremely happy with how comfortable and confident I felt with yesterday’s water and wind machines.  The day of rain [on Wednesday, May 16] also built confidence.  It’s really a mental game up on the wire.”
  • While Nik is still unhappy about the prospect of wearing a harness on June 15, he will be practicing with one back home.  The harness will be placed around his waist, clipped on his back, and will trail behind him as he walks. 
  • To set up the wire over Niagara Falls, a helicopter will take a “messenger rope” across and attach it to giant spools on either side of the U.S./Canada border.  The actual wire that Nik will walk won’t ever touch the water.
  • Nik is thrilled to see the media reach from the training sessions.  “I’ve learned that China Central TV will reach 1.3 billion viewers, so what started as a dream is now reaching across the ends of the earth.”
  • Nik plans to “sleep in” on June 16.
  • Nik “talks to God” while walking the wire.  He finds it comforting.
  • Nik and his family did eke out a little bit of time for fun while in Niagara Falls USA.  “We went on Maid of the Mist, played mini-golf, and even went on a helicopter ride,” he said.  And, as mentioned on yesterday’s exclusive “Wallenda Walks Blog” video, Nik and his wife Erendira even tried some slot machines at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel.
  • Finally, Nik said he is very grateful for the excellent service at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel.  He’ll especially miss the food: he ate at the award-winning Western Door Steakhouse nearly a dozen times during his two-week stay.  And, not to worry — Nik will again stay at the hotel in June prior to his big day.

Although the training has now come to a close, we will continue to periodically update this blog with exclusive updates and quotes from Nik leading up to June 15.

By senecawallenda

That’s a Wrap!

At today’s noon press conference, Nik Wallenda announced that due to mental and physical exhaustion, the afternoon training session scheduled for 3:30 to 5 p.m. has been cancelled.  We apologize for the inconvenience and hope all our guests enjoyed the 11 days of historic high-wire training at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel.

Day 11 update coming soon!

By senecawallenda

The Fire Trucks and Wind Machines Finally Arrive!

After much anticipation, the Niagara Falls Fire Department finally came to Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel to spray high-wire walker Nik Wallenda with water.  In addition, a wind machine created conditions of nearly 50 miles per hour (80 kilometres per hour) to give Nik the ultimate test of what conditions could be like over Niagara Falls on June 15.

The sight bordered on “unbelievable” this afternoon, so we’ll let the photos and videos “tell the story” for this one.

By senecawallenda

Nik Wallenda Training: Day 10 — One Day Left!

The crowds were as strong as ever today for watching Nik Wallenda train at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel for his historic June 15 walk over Niagara Falls.  There is just one day left to see this free event before he heads home to Sarasota, Florida.  Nik will also take part in a family-filled entertainment event in Branson, Missouri, before returning to Niagara Falls around June 12.

Who knows what “tricks” Nik will have up his sleeve for tomorrow!  Word is, he did a hand stand on the wire yesterday.

Today’s media/public debriefing was truly an international affair, as a reporter with The Sunday Times (London, England) joined, as well as crews with ABC News 20/20 and China Central TV.

Nik is becoming more pleased with efforts by Niagara Falls USA to promote the event.  “It seems like everyone’s finally coming together,” he said.  “All I want is to have this be something great for Niagara Falls, on both sides of the border.  As for right here [around Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel], it’s incredible to see more people around, and I’d even be interested in building a permanent facility nearby.”

In addition to the increased likelihood of having to wear a safety harness on June 15, it also is looking more likely that Nik will walk towards Canada, because of better peripheral vision due to the mist of the falls.

More updates coming shortly!

By senecawallenda

Nik Wallenda Training: Day Nine — Record Warmth!


The highest temperature ever for May 20 in Niagara Falls was 85 degrees (29 degrees Celsius) — until now.  Nik Wallenda trained in record heat today at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel.

It was a busy day for Nik, as he woke up at dawn for a helicopter ride over the falls and coverage on the Canadian side with the crew from 60 Minutes Australia.  (Nik also participated in a sit-down interview with the crew inside Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel this afternoon — photo below.)  The wind and mist machines that may come on site tomorrow would be a welcome addition for Nik — not just for training purposes, but because temperatures will continue to be in the 80’s.

Nik’s schedule is packed nearly 24 hours a day at this point, between media interviews, meetings with officials, and permits to review for both the training site and the June 15 historic walk over Niagara Falls.  “It’ll be good to get back to Florida and practice with some quiet,” said Wallenda, “but the training here is certainly helpful in terms of the fine-tuning adjustments we continue to make with the wire.  Safety is our number-one priority, but I also want the wire to feel as comfortable as possible.”

A few other things we learned at today’s media/public debriefing at noon:

  • Nik fiinally tried — and enjoyed — chicken wings.
  • Unbeknownst to many, Nik has walked the practice wire at night in order to prepare for the 10 p.m. walk on June 15.
  • The only time Nik ever felt uneasy on the wire was when the back wheel of his bicycle spun a bit for his Guinness Book of World Records stunt over a wire, performed live on the Today Show in 2008.
  • Nik believes that wearing a tether on June 15 would actually be a hinderance to his safety.

Joining the public crowd today was a local actress playing the part of Annie Edson Taylor (see photos below), who was the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, in 1901.  She is buried in Oakwood Cemetary in Niagara Falls, NY.  (Editor’s note: We do NOT recommend going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.)


By senecawallenda

Nik Wallenda Training: Day Eight

Just another “walk in the park” for Nik Wallenda during his training today at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel.  At noon, under a clear sky and calm winds, temperatures were already pushing 80 degrees (27 degrees Celsius).  (So much for Western New York always being buried under three foot of snow, eh?)

Nik hopes to have mist and wind machines on site Monday if possible.  (There are some waiver/legal issues causing a slight delay.)  In the meantime, he is enjoying his training, and earlier said, “It’s an honor to be here.  The crowds are surreal.”

We asked Nik if it was a “freeing experience” to walk at such great heights.  He responded, “It definitely is.  My grandfather used it say, ‘Life is on a wire; everything else is just waiting.'”

On site today and tomorrow at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel is 60 Minutes Australia.  In the pictures below, you’ll see one of the reporters, Ally (Allison Langdon), getting a crash-course in “wire walking” by Nik Wallenda.

ABC News  20/20 also is on site, capturing footage for the upcoming June 15 special.  The program airs internationally from 8 to 11 p.m., with live footage starting around 9 p.m. and Nik taking to the wire shortly after 10 p.m.  The entire walk over Niagara Falls should last about 40 minutes. 

In closing for today, enjoy the following two videos with some unique footage.  The first is a link to a video feature from the New York Times, and the second (embedded below) is from Naturally in Niagara magazine.

By senecawallenda

Nik Wallenda Training: Day Seven — “New York, New York”

For today’s update from Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, we’re going to let the videos and photos do the talking.

First, thanks to local government leaders, Nik met with groups of schoolchildren from Anna Merritt Elementary School in Lockport, NY (see video below), and Cheektowaga Central High School in Cheektowaga, NY, right after his morning training.

Then, Nik took to the Seneca Square walkway bridge for the daily debriefing at noon.  First, he took questions from the media…

…then the public…

…and then met a surprise guest!  After we asked Nik his favorite Frank Sinatra song — to which he responded “New York, New York” due to its message about dreams being sought and found — we introduced Michael Feinstein, who performs “The Sinatra Project” tonight with a 17-piece big-band orchestra inside Seneca Niagara Events Center.  (Tickets start at $40 and great seats are still available.)

Don’t miss Nik Wallenda and Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel on tonight’s episode of Inside Edition, airing at 7 PM on CBS.

Also, on site now: a crew from ABC News 20/20.  Coming this weekend on property:  60 Minutes Australia and China Central TV.

Here are a few photos from today, including more “rescue training” by Niagara Falls firefighters.

By senecawallenda