The man who crossed Niagara Falls on a high wire this summer walked on air above Atlantic City Thursday.
The crowd of 150,000 people was hushed, then cheering when Nik Wallenda passed above them step by measured step. Mostly though, they were quiet, their eyes trained on the sky.
Wallenda walked a wire stretched between two cranes, more than 100 feet above the ground.
Phyllis DeMarco from Staten Island, N.Y., says the veteran circus performer made the stunt look effortless.
“He’s just walking along, just like taking a stroll, on the ground. He’s making it look very easy,” she said.
And for Wallenda, who comes from a famous family of aerialists, it probably was. He told reporters there were a couple gusts of wind and sand on the wire. But he said he had a great view and an invigorating walk.
“Preparation is life to me. I started walking the wire at the age of 2. Seven generations and 200 years,” he said. “It’s in my blood at this point.”
The mayor of Atlantic City presented Wallenda with a certificate of appreciation.
The stakes are high for Atlantic City. Gaming revenues have steadily fallen, with new competition from surrounding states.
The gambling mecca has staked its financial future on becoming an entertainment destination. The boardwalk’s latest and most glamorous addition, the Revel has posted lower-than-expected numbers from its casino since its opening in May.
Wallenda just had to draw the crowds this time. Atlantic City will have to keep up the act.