August 11, 2011

Historian's Hypocrisy on Wallenda Walk

In many of the local articles I've read about Nik Wallenda's proposed tightrope walk across Niagara Falls, a local historian by the name of Paul Gromosiak opines strongly against the walk because he believes that daredevils cheapen the natural value of the falls. In a story in the Buffalo News, Gromosiak stated, "Does he contribute to the natural wonder or does he take it away? I think he takes it away."

It's interesting that Gromosiak would take such a hypocritical position on the proposed walk, considering that he himself has capitalized on stunts at the falls with a book he wrote on that same topic. Gromosiak's book, ironically enough, is titled Daring Niagara: 50 Death Defying Stunts at the Falls. Apparently in Gromosiak's world, profiting personally from the litany of daredevil stunts that have been part of the falls' history is okay, but actually supporting one that would bring hundreds of thousands of visitors, tens of millions of dollars and an amount of publicity to the area that could not be quantified is a bad idea.

In his book's introduction, Gromosiak ponders why men and women have risked their lives performing stunts at the falls. He goes on to write, "After reading about the stunts, walk by the falls and gorge to see the places where they were done. Who knows? You might see another one being attempted. Undoubtedly, it is only a matter of time before another person adds his or her name to the roster of Niagara's challengers".

Clearly I bolded that section for a reason; to highlight just how hypocritical Gromosiak is. He's using the falls to make money for himself, glamorizing the same stunts that he now condemns. His book is filled with pictures of funambulists as far back as Jean Francis Gravelet, who tightroped across the falls in 1859. All the while, he has the audacity to criticize the proposed walk.

My advice for Gromosiak would be to stop doing Paul Dyster's dirty work (Dyster still refuses to get behind the walk and didn't even attend a critically important meeting about the event last week with Wallenda , his people and other stakeholders), get behind the Wallenda walk or just shut your mouth. You can't have it both ways. And by the way, you're welcome for the pimping of your book.

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