New York’s iconic Crossroads of the World, Times Square, has been shut down for a death-defying stunt that will challenge the skills of Nik Wallenda and his sister Lijana, of the famous Flying Wallendas family, as they attempt a 1,300-foot walk, 25 stories above Times Square in a live television event to air on ABC.
The special called Highwire Live in Times Square with Nik Wallenda will be hosted by both Good Morning America‘s Michael Strahan and Dancing With the Stars’ Erin Andrews and will air on Sunday, June 23.
PIX 11 reported that the high-traffic and congested area, which houses hundreds of stores, theaters, and businesses, was shut down early Tuesday morning as crews began the installation of the high wire for the stunt. The wire stretches from 2 Times Square down Broadway to 1 Times Square, reported ABC7 NY.
Both of the Wallenda siblings will attempt to walk towards one another, rain or shine, and meet in the middle without using either harnesses or nets for their safety.
Nik spoke to the New York news station and explained why the family continues to defy death with such dangerous stunts, knowing the potential for a fatal fall.
“I believe that every one of us is walking on a tight rope in one way or another, whether it be the tight rope of life and just whatever life throws at you. Whether it be a health battle or just life or relationships, etcetera, were all on a high wire, we’re all trying to get to the other side,” Nik Wallenda said.
This stunt will be Lijana’s first time publicly back on a tightrope since she suffered a fall and crushed bones in her face and sustained other injuries two years ago, per ABC7 NY.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that in February 2017, Lijana and four other high-wire artists fell 30 feet from the ground from a wire while in rehearsals for a human pyramid act. Lijana’s injuries required her to have three plates and 72 screws in her face, the outlet added. She also sustained multiple injuries, including a lacerated liver, broken ankle, shoulder, and hip.
The high-flying family is known for their death-defying stunts. The Flying Wallendas — as they are commonly known — were helmed by Karl Wallenda, who taught his family the tricks they needed to master the high wire. His children and grandchildren continue the family tradition of death-defying stunt work.
On March 22, 1978, during a high-wire walk in San Juan, Puerto Rico, between the towers of the Condado Plaza Hotel, Karl Wallenda fell from his wire and died at the age of 73. Later on, Nik and his mother, Delilah, completed the walk in honor of Karl, reported CNN.
Subsequently, Nik also broke a world record while riding a bike on a high wire, walked over Niagara Falls in 2012 from the United States into Canada — and was required by ABC Television to wear a safety harness — and walked over the Little Colorado River Gorge at the Grand Canyon without either a harness or safety net.
Highwire Live In Times Square with Nik Wallenda will air Sunday, June 23, on ABC.