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Falls officials hoping for post-Wallenda boost

Eileen Koteras Elibol l WNED Art Director l Photographer

The crowds have gone home, but tourism officials on both sides of the border are looking at ways to capitalize on the successful walk of Nik Wallenda.

With television viewers as far away as China watching Wallenda's performance live, there's a lot more awareness of the cataract and the views.

Now, the push is to take advantage of the event, with planners in New York and Ontario preparing the message spin.

Niagara Falls, New York Mayor Paul Dyster says people still come because of the Marilyn Monroe film "Niagara," and that was released in 1953.

"Any time that you get a large number of these media impressions for Niagara Falls, it's got to be a positive thing," Dyster said.

"The Falls is absolutely fantastic. It's a global-class tourism resource. But, I think you still need every once-in-a-while something that calls the public's attention, that reminds them Niagara Falls, that's a place I always wanted to go."

Dyster says he never told Wallenda before the walk that the mayor's great-grandfather fell from a bridge under construction across the gorge 112 years ago to the day.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.