Published June 24, 2013
Don’t expect Nik Wallenda to be in a New York state of mind anytime soon.
Wallenda, who wowed millions late Sunday by walking across Arizona’s Little Colorado River Gorge on a tightrope without a safety net or harness, immediately set his sights on his next feat: walking between New York City’s Chrysler and Empire State buildings. But the seventh-generation daredevil apparently won’t get that chance, as NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters the stunt is a no-go.
"I don't think it would be wise," Kelly told reporters, adding that it would put “thousands” of New Yorkers at risk.
Paul Browne, Kelly’s spokesman, told FoxNews.com it’s unclear whether Wallenda’s camp has sought or will seek a permit for the proposed feat. In any case, it will likely be denied, Browne said.
“If he fell into the Grand Canyon, only he'd end up dead and wet,” Browne wrote in an email. “If he fell in Manhattan, God help those below.”
Wallenda, 34, walked 1,500 feet across the massive gorge on a 2-inch thick cable in 22 minutes as millions around the world watched on television and computer screens. The nationally-televised stunt – Wallenda’s most daring yet – was also the leading trending topic on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.
"It was unbelievable," he told reporters later. "It was everything I wanted it to be. It was extremely emotional. I got to the other end and started crying."
Wallenda repeatedly thanked God throughout the walk and was seemingly aware that anything can – and does – go wrong when it comes to high-wire stunt. His great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, 73, fell during a performance in Puerto Rico in 1978 and died. Several other family members, including a cousin and an uncle, have also perished while performing stunts.
Wallenda’s walk was largely without incident, despite winds around 30 mph. He paused and kneeled on the wire twice, but there was “never” a time when he felt in trouble, the Florida native said afterward.
"It was strenuous the whole way across. It was a battle. The winds were strong, they were gusty," he told reporters. "But there was never a point where I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to fall.'"
Wallenda’s legend is no doubt growing, as Sunday’s stunt comes a year after he traversed Niagara Falls en route to a seventh Guinness world record on June 15, 2012.
But at least one expert in the field of American daredevils said not to be too quick to anoint Wallenda as the greatest stuntman of all-time.
“His grandfather was fabulous, he was all over the place,” said Leigh Montville, author of “Evel,” a look at the life of daredevil Evel Knievel. “But I think we’re too fast to make everything the best, the greatest, yadda yadda yadda … It’s a hard thing to say, but he has certainly captured people’s attention right now.”
Hal Needham, a longtime stuntman and film director, disagreed, saying Wallenda’s latest feat has catapulted him to the world’s best.
“I thought it was fantastic,” Needham told FoxNews.com. “That guy must practice, practice, practice. He had to have great confidence to even start that thing.”
Needham, who has served as body doubles for Hollywood icons like Burt Reynolds, said he was so impressed by Wallenda’s poise.
“My wife got so nervous she couldn’t stay in the room,” he said. “I could tell that wind was giving him fits and he was in a little bit of trouble a few times, but my hat goes off to him.”
Needham, who wrote “Stuntman!” detailing his four decades and nearly 100 films as a Hollywood daredevil, had the highest of praise for Wallenda.
“I think he’s the best, both currently and all-time,” Needham said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.