A small group of fans, joggers, a throng of media tourists, and curious people looked through the metal fences and gathered in Central Park’s Wollman Rink to see a man hanging by his feet from a suspended cable. At 8:34 am, Brooklyn born David Blaine was hoisted 50 to try to break a world record for hanging upside down. This latest challenge will last for 60 hours.
This kind of endeavor is anything but new to Blaine. As a magician and stunt man, he once spent 35 hours atop a 90-foot pillar in New York’s Bryant Park, broke the world record for holding his breath underwater for 17 minutes in Lincoln Center, and shackled himself to a gyroscope in Times Square and then broke free after two days. He has also fasted for 44 days in a box suspended over The Thames River in London.
Wearing electromagnetic boots clamped on a metal bar suspended from a cable, Blaine constantly stretched his legs in order to maintain his blood flow. He was also able to lower himself to interact more closely with fans and the media.
Many of the spectators were excited to see him live in action. Daniel Morales of Manhattan said that he has seen him before on television and wanted to get a glimpse of this new act. “He is incredible,” said Morales. “He is always taking risks. It’s so much fun to see him.”
Others hoped to learn from the stunt. Alex Pendiea of Queens said that he has tried to hang upside down, but was able to do it for only 30 minutes. “I also tried to stand on a vertical pole like he did in Bryant Park and only did it for an hour. It was very hard.”
“Hanging upside down is more difficult than it looks,” said Pendiea. “Some people think that hanging there is boring, but they don’t know how difficult it is to be there for 60 hours,” he said. “It’s crazy.”
Mano Tejada of the Upper East Side has followed Blaine since his first act in 1999 when he spent seven days buried in a tomb on Riverside Drive. “I run here every day in the park and I plan to check on him and cheer him up. I have to support him,” said Tejada, who was inspired by Blaine to become a magician.
Other spectators came to see if Blaine is capable of breaking the record. Jay and Tom Bradbury were visiting from the UK. They saw Blaine’s at the Lincoln Center stunt when he failed to break the world record for holding his breath. They’re eager to see the result of this one. “After the last stunt, I am not convinced that he will finish this one.”
The challenge will conclude on Wednesday with a live ABC special, “David Blaine: Dive of Death” at 9 pm. Both Tejada and the Bradburys will have to wait until the end to know how Blaine concludes the stunt.