David Blaine Hanging upside-down in New York City
David Blaine Hanging upside-down
David Blaine Hanging upside-down in NYC, New York, USA
David Blaine Hanging upside-down
David Blaine’s Dive of Death
22 September, 2008
David Blaine will attempt to hang from a thin wire five stories in the air – with no safety net or airbag to break his fall. Hanging on for his life, Blaine will be able to move around over the Wollman Rink and lower himself to interact closely with fans, dropping in upside down.
New York Central Park.
Daredevil Blaine hangs upside down over New York
Illusionist and daredevil David Blaine began a nearly three-day stint Monday hanging upside down over New York’s Central Park, in what may be his toughest stunt yet.
Blaine, 35, was hoisted by his heels over the park’s Wollmann ice rink, and was to stay there, dangling for 60 hours from a wire, until late Wednesday. The magician, who has previously spent 72 hours encased in ice, 44 days without food in a plexiglass box, a week under water, and been buried alive, told AFP that being inverted for three days was his hardest challenge.
“This is the most difficult for sure. The others, you could get into them soon after the start, but this one is tough from the get-go,” Blaine said after being lowered to head level for an interview.
Dressed in black T-shirt and grey trousers, the short, tanned and bearded magician looked at ease as he surveyed New York from the unusual angle.
He was attached at the torso and at two steel clips linking his boots to the wire. For two nights and three hot early autumn days he will neither eat or sleep. The trick echoes Blaine’s great hero Harry Houdini, the legendary escapologist of the late 19th and early 20th century, who amazed New York crowds by hanging upside down from skyscrapers and cranes.
Unlike Houdini, who would hang in a straightjacket, then escape after a short time, Blaine aims instead to prove his powers of endurance. In training, he tried the trick for just six hours.
“Sixty hours — that will be heading into the unknown,” he told AFP in a quiet voice. Asked how he would manage the challenge, Blaine answered: “Sheer willpower.”
The metal frame from which he is suspended is four floors high, but Blaine can be lowered to talk face to face — even if upside down — with tourists and curious New Yorkers. Mary Foti, 72, who stopped by while walking her dachshund Madison, applauded the adventure. “I think it’s wonderful. It gives you something to talk about other than politics,” she said. “I don’t think he’s crazy. I live in New York and you see all sorts of things, especially in the park!” Doctors have expressed concern about the effect of the stress on Blaine’s internal organs and blood circulation.
He is not eating, but is taking liquid through a straw, and is able to urinate through a catheter. He regularly frees one leg, so that he is hanging only by the other, then uses that limb to help rebalance, briefly raising his head a little nearer to a horizontal position. Blaine is well known for his card tricks and other illusions, including transforming a homeless man’s cup of coffee into one overflowing coins, and appearing to have magically removed a distraught-looking woman’s front teeth.
However, he has become more famous for his physical dares, which combine Houdini-era tricks with modern public relations. ABC television bought live coverage rights to the Central Park event and is planning a two-hour prime time show on Wednesday at 9:00 pm (0100 GMT Thursday) featuring Blaine’s tricks and then his descent from the wire.
Longtime publicity agent Regina Dantas said she and the rest of Blaine’s team were worried every time he took his stunts to the edge. “The doctor, his assistant, these guys are petrified. The outcome is always a big question mark, a big question mark,” she told AFP. Blaine, she said, “is fearless. Death, I think, means something different to him.” Not everyone was impressed.
“I’m not bothered really. Perhaps it’s our age group, but I don’t see why people have to do things like that,” an elderly English tourist, visiting New York with her husband. “Poor man,” she added, hooting with laughter. Meanwhile, one of the score of security guards at the site sounded as if the job was going to be a feat of endurance for him too. “I’m getting tired just watching him,” he said, shaking his head.
Daredevil Blaine and and showman ended up alive on Wednesday night after his 60-hour stunt of hanging upside down in Central Park.
Blaine, 35, had dangled from a cable attached to a large scaffold structure built high over the park’s Wollman Rink since Monday, except for regular breaks for water and medical checks during which he was upright for periods of a few to several minutes each. The spectacle ended during a nationally telecast two-hour television special which was filled out with taped footage of Blaine performing and interacting with fans across the country, and several “do not try this at home”-type disclaimers. Blaine had one more illusion for his fans. After ending his suspension, he plummeted some 44 feet from the top of the scaffold, swinging briefly from an attached cable. He then ascended and seemingly disappeared into the night sky high above the park. Blaine said the hanging stunt got easier after the initial hours as his body adjusted, and he was strong enough to sign autographs, take pictures and even do card tricks while he was suspended. David Blaine lives to pretend to almost kill himself another day. The 35-year-old illusionist/stuntmeister/attention-junkie has survived his latest feat of fortitude, a 44-foot “jump” after hanging 50 feet above the skating rink in New York City’s Central Park, upside down, for 60 hours. The mystery, supposedly, was whether Blaine’s head would pop off, his lungs would explode or some other dastardly fate would befall him (pardon the pun) after spending all that time inverted, which in and of itself could cause breathing trouble, blindness, a stroke and a host of other organ difficulties, according to a vascular surgeon at the scene.
Not only did Blaine look pretty damn good, albeit a little bleary eyed, once he was turned upright, he evaded sharp scrutiny altogether. When it came time to “dive,” he sort of fluttered down to Earth before the hoister of his harness whisked him away. Mystifyingly into the ether, he’d have us believe. The dishy magician was inevitably a little worse for wear after going since Monday morning without sleep, food or a proper place to pee–and, according to the host of the two-hour ABC special David Blaine: Dive of Death (what, you thought Blaine was doing this for his own amusement?), the magician’s eyes started to swell shut by hour four. “What was really quite remarkable was that his eyes, in the first hour or two, were incredibly swollen and red, and as the time went on, his eyes returned to normal,” Blaine’s personal physician, Dr. Ronald Ruden said upon observing how practically normal his patient looked. “His ability to adapt is really almost superhuman.”
The unfolding events were broadcast on ABC’s 2-hour special titled “David Blaine: Dive of Death.” David’s latest death defying spectacle began on Monday when he suspended himself upside down, with plans of hanging around for a total of 60 hours, using a harness and cables attached to a metal frame standing 44 feet tall. On-site medics and doctors warned that remaining upside down for such an extended period of time would lead to a risk of permanent blindness and stroke. Despite the risk David continued with his stunt, taking regular breaks to drink a little water, use the restroom, and receive medical check-ups. Meanwhile many fans and onlookers weren’t so convinced by the claims of risk when they saw David taking his regular breaks in the upright position. David completed his 60 hours on Wednesday night as both onlookers in Central Park and viewers at home watched in anticipation. Once upright, David appeared to be in pretty good shape for someone who just spent a cumulative 60 hours upside down, but he wasn’t done yet. Shortly after re-establishing himself in the normal upright position, David was lifted to the top of the metal frame from which he had hung in preparation for his “Dive of Death”. He stood there smiling and waving at fans as the booming announcer’s voice built up the anticipation level for this death defying dive, and warned viewers to not try any of these stunts at home. Then the moment came, the announcer asked David if he was ready, and then David proceeded to leap off of the 44ft tall metal frame.