NEW YORK – Two well-known tight-rope walking siblings crossed New York’s Times Square 25 stories above ground late on Sunday.
The daredevil stunt by brother-sister duo Nik and Lijana Wallenda, broadcast by ABC, generated a lot of expectations owing to Lijana’s near-fatal accident in 2017 while practicing.
The siblings walked from opposite ends of the 400 meter-long (1,312 feet) wire, which stretched from south of the iconic plaza at 42nd Street to the north at 47th Street, and met halfway.
The pair come from a family who have been acrobats for 200 years.
Nik, dubbed “King of the High Wire,” told ABC that the event was a tribute to the Wallenda family’s first performance at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1928.
The circus family, known as The Flying Wallendas, goes back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 18th century and made their American debut with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the last century.
In an interview with The New York Times, 40-year-old Nik said that the inspiration behind his performances is to pay tribute to his family and “those greats like Harry Houdini and Philippe Petit,” adding before the feat that it would be a special performance for his 42-year-old sister Lijana.
“She nearly lost her life; she was in a coma and broke every bone in her face. So this will be extremely emotional. I’ll be surprised if I’m not shedding tears before I even finish,” he said.
In 2017, Lijana was practicing in a circus in Sarasota in southern US along with Nik and three other trapeze artists when they all fell from a cable more than 9 meters high.