Tag: Odd TravelView All Tags
Usually we find out about things going on in New York by word of mouth, or browsing the local papers and websites. This one, however, just sort of floated into view from our office building about a week ago, and we've been dying to try it ever since. An outfit called Aero Balloons is offering balloon rides in Central Park, and all it takes is $25 to enjoy an unparalleled view of New York from the gondola of a big green-and-white balloon. True, the tethered balloon never rises more than a couple of hundred feet, nowhere near the height of most skyscrapers in Midtown, but it's the highest point in Central Park by far.
Not surprisingly, the rides have proven popular with locals and tourists alike, so the lines can be brutal. Two-hour waits for an eight-minute ride are common, and gusty winds will prompt operators to ground the balloon for the rest of the day even if hordes of people are waiting. The gondola holds groups of up to four people along with one balloon operator, so grab your friends and cameras and get going. Twenty-five bucks for eight minutes might seem like a lot of money, but one can easily spend twice that on a couple of rounds at the bar for an experience that will be far less memorable. The balloon rides will operate until August 22, and can be found at Cherry Hill in Central Park, just west of Bethesda Fountain at 72nd Street and Central Park West.
[Photo: Victor Ozols]
Maybe the secret to helium balloon-powered flight is staying over land. An Oregon gas station owner named Kent Couch made a 9-hour flight from his hometown of Bend, Oregon east to Cambridge, Idaho this weekend. His tricked out flying lawn chair was loaded up with a BB gun for popping balloons, a parachute, three GPS devices, a satellite phone and, obviously, beef jerky.
Couch's journey sounds much easier than the one that tragically ended earlier this year, when a Brazilian priest disappeared while coasting over the Atlantic in his own helium balloon rig.
The fortunate flyer financed his $6,000 trip with the help of Google Maps, and Couch plans to have a detailed route map up on his website soon, pulled from the GPS data he collected along the way. Also sponsoring his flight? The folks behind the Spot satellite tracking device.
· Oregon Man Completes Flight of Fancy [AP, via Google]
· Super Dangerous Travel: Balloon Ride Goes Awry in Brazil [Jaunted]
· Dangerous Travel coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: Kent Couch]
Offered a hot air balloon ride? Make sure it's one balloon, not many: The Brazilian priest doing a charity stunt we told you about Wednesday has now been missing for five days after taking off from the coastal city of Paranagua. He was hooked up to 1,000 balloons.
Adelir Antonio de Carli wanted to raise money for a Christian outreach center for long-distance truckers, and parishioners said he had studied up on weather patterns and air currents in the region. But save a brief text message on Sunday night revealing he was about to crash into the Atlantic and traces of balloons found as far as 120 miles away, the priest seems to have disappeared, and local rescue workers are about to call off their search for him.
Maybe de Carli got the idea for his stunt from the 2004 movie "Danny Deckchair," in which an Australian man is mistakenly set aloft while sitting in a lawn chair. While fictional, the story was based on the real-life escapades of a Southern California man known as "Lawnchair Larry." These guys survived their stunts, but don't assume it's a good idea to travel this way--unless your destination is the Darwin Awards winner's circle.
While David Neeleman is working long hours to get a new Brazilian airline up and running, hopefully by next year, a Brazilian priest has been trying to show an easier way to get airborne.
We're guessing that Reverend di Carli thought something like "Who wants to wait around for an airline that doesn't even have a proper name yet," then hooked his chair to hundreds of helium-filled balloons and took off.
Okay, it might not have gone exactly like that, but it seems just as crazy, and the priest is missing over the ocean somewhere after losing his balloons. Seriously. The whole flight was supposed to be a record attempt to raise money, but it's raised hell instead. Now if only Neeleman's airline was already flying, they could help look for the reverend.
[Photo: Mark McLaughlin]
A video of the Mindfreak's escape on A&E's live television coverage, how meta of you tipsters.
First, is that Paul Shaffer or Gilbert Godfrey counting down and yelling "C'mon Chris" around the 1:15 mark?
Second, isn't this the exact same trick that baffled Hugh Jackman in The Prestige?
Someone search the crowd for a drunk double--no a twin brother, that's it. Criss Angel has a twin brother and he is dating Cameron Diaz.
Here's hoping all the tourists and gawkers on 46th and 8th enjoyed the show.
On Friday, we told you about illusionist Criss Angel's latest stunt--24 hours in box full of wet cement hanging above Times Square. Last night blogger asktherelic was looking for a good excuse to test out his new Blackberry phone camera, so he sauntered over to Angelville and had this to say:
Walked by and did the tourist thing myself. There were lots of annoying kids and loud Drum n Bass music playing and of course a smoke machine going off every 5 mins. They were giving out lots of DVDs and stuff, a loud promoter on a microphone.
Angel was scheduled to escape the box at around 7 AM this morning. If anyone woke up early and witnessed the escape attempt, let us know about it in comments.
The cement box stunt is hoping to draw attention to the third season of Criss Angel's show Mindfreak.
Update 06.05.07: We now have photos from Criss Angel event here.
Criss Angel is set to perform a death-defying stunt on June 4th in Times Square.
Angel, who is looking to top David Blaine's 2006 Lincoln Center water bubble flop, will encase himself in a glass cube, be lifted 40 feet in the air, and have 24 hours to escape before the whole box drops to the ground. Oh, and the box will be filled with three inches of wet concrete...oh, and he will be shackled--of course.
What is at stake? Historically, the top U.S. magician cashes in on commercial appearances and dates hot models.
In the wake of Blaine's 2006 failure, Angel is set to become America's Next Top Magician if he pulls this off.
We leave you with an ominous Criss Angel quote from the clip after the jump:
A solid can not pass through a solid...unless it was really liquid.
What's that weird water thing blocking the lovely view of Lincoln Center? Why, it's David Blaine, the only magician cheesy enough to make us miss David Copperfield.
It seems that Blaine, in his quest to best all the lamest records in the Guinness Book, will attempt to remain underwater without oxygen for 9 minutes on May 8th. But in order to do this, Blaine believes he needs to acclimate his body to the water conditions. To do so (and, dare we say, as a publicity stunt), the occasional illusionist has trapped himself inside a bubble filled with water for nine days. At the end, he will emerge in all his wrinkled glory, right in front of the Metropolitan Opera House.
Tune into ABC to see the final stunt performed live. Will David escape the handcuffs chaining him to a 150 lb. rock? Will he beat the current record of 8 minute, 58 seconds without air? Most importantly, will New Yorkers care either way? Maybe we should ask the magic eight ball.
[image source via Nathalili]
David Blaine Bubble Photos [Flickr]