Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman at the Capri Restaurant

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    The following is on the window of the Capri Restaurant. I don’t know how long ago it happened (their divorce was final in 2001), but I’m sure it was quite exciting for them:

    Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman at the Capri Restaurant

    Shown above are husband & wife team, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman who recently had lunch at The Capri Restaurant on Ferry Street in Niagara Falls.

    “This is no April’s Fool’s joke…
    On Friday, April 1st, the Capri Restaurant on 5438 Ferry Street received a telephone call from Jack McLaren a local tour operator.

    Two famous movies stars (a husband and wife team) were touring the Niagara Falls area and requested to have lunch at the Capri on Saturday. The couple specified they wanted complete privacy and no cameras or press!

    Thinking the call was a typical April Fool’s joke, the staff did not take it seriously.

    But this request was no April Fool’s joke. On Saturday, April 2nd at 2:00 p.m., Tom Cruise and his wife Nicole Kidman strolled in through the doors. The staff immediately recognized them and ushered them to a table in a private area of the dining lounge, as requested.

    There was no fancy limousine or chauffeur. Tom himself had driven a rented white Sunbird from Toronto.

    Not to be easily spotted, Tom wore sunglasses and a baseball hat. He was attired in jeans and a denim shirt complete with work boots. Nicole was modestly dressed in black tights and an oversized white top.

    For lunch the couple ordered a minestrone soup, Italian salad, and Chef Carmen’s “Famous Eggplant Parmigiana”, at Hostess Marisa Alfieri-Hay’s suggestion. They drank Perrier water.

    When asked how their meal was Tom and Nicole said “they would die for the Eggplant Parmigiana” and asked to personally meet with Chef Carmen. Complimenting the food, Tom said the taste was incredible.

    Later Tom was amused when Same Alfieri, owner told them, “Tom Cruise is the best actor and Nicole Kidman is the best actress in the whole world”.

    Same was curious to know why the couple had chosen The Capri for lunch and was pleasantly surprised when Tom and Nicole said they had heard about the restaurant in Hollywood, California. Both stars then promised they would return.

    “Lunch was on the Alfieri family, because they were so courteous and we wanted to do something in return”, added Sam. “All they wanted was to be two average tourists in Niagara Falls.”

    “Tourists yes — average no”

    You can see pictures of the restaurant in the Capri Restaurant gallery.

    Classic Iron Motorcycle Museum is now open!

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    Classic Iron Motorcycle Museum is now open!

    The Classic Iron Motorcycle Museum is now open. It opened last week (10 days ago). I was by on Saturday and saw that they were opened and stopped to ask a few questions:

    • There are over 40 bikes on display
    • Adult pricing including taxes is $10
    • Child pricing including taxes is $8

    They are still working on the building on the outside, but as I mentioned, they are open for business.

    I’ve taken a few pictures of the bikes in the lobby that you can see in the Classic Iron Motorcycle Museum gallery.

    Update on city meetings

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    As we mentioned in a previous post, there was a town meeting held last night to discuss amendments to the zoning bylaw that would allow a 59 storey hotel and observation tower along with a 74,000 sqft water park on Falls Avenue.

    The amendment to allow the hotel tower passed with a 5-1 vote while the amendment to allow the water park passed in council unanimously.

    UPDATE:
    The local cable company airs City Council meetings live on Monday nights. I was able to capture a few images from the television of the hotel and water park. As these are only screen captures recorded from a low quality source, the images are not superb, but they convey the look of the new developments.

    Hotel from front looking up
    Hotel from front looking up

    Hotel and waterpark visible from back
    Hotel and waterpark visible from back

    Hotel view from the Unites States near the Rainbow Bridge
    Hotel view from the United States near the Rainbow Bridge

    The is the write up from the Niagara Falls Review about the hotel:

    New hotel to tower above city

    By COREY LAROCQUE
    Local News – Tuesday, May 17, 2005 @ 02:00

    NIAGARA FALLS – The 59-storey Rainbow Tower Hotel proposed for Falls Avenue would have a view of both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and be visible from Buffalo and Toronto, says architect Michael Kirkland.

    “We glory in the size of it,” said Kirkland who designed the building for Canadian Niagara Hotels, saying it will take on “iconic” status.

    “This is a building that will affect the skyline of Niagara Falls for a very long time,” Kirkland said during a planning meeting at city hall Monday night.

    Council voted 5-1 in favour of the application from Canadian Niagara Hotels to build the $130-million hotel tower between the Sheraton-on-the-Falls and Brock Plaza hotels.

    The proposed tower was designed as two buildings in one – a 48-storey, 550-room hotel attached to an observation tower that stands 751 feet tall, Kirkland said. It would have one storey more than the Hilton Niagara hotel expansion the city approved last year, but would be 57 metres taller than that hotel planned for Fallsview Boulevard.

    It’s designed so the higher up it goes, its orientation rotates toward the Horseshoe Falls, said Kirkland.

    “This building goes up and expresses the sheer gravitational pull of Niagara Falls,” he said.

    Because of its design, it will also take different appearances – what Kirkland described as a lantern, torch or silhouette – depending on weather conditions, time of day and the light it reflects.

    At 229 metres tall, the Rainbow Tower Hotel will be the city’s tallest building. But because of its placement, it will only cast shadows on property owned by Canadian Niagara Hotels, Kirkland said.

    In a recorded vote, aldermen Wayne Campbell, Jim Diodati, Joyce Morocco, Victor Pietrangelo and Selina Volpatti approved the project.

    Ald. Carolynn Ioannoni was the sole vote against. She said she wanted to support it, but needed more details on a provision that would have the company contribute to city projects in exchange for exceeding the height limit.

    “I think this application is premature. I wanted to support it. There are too many questions,” Ioannoni said.

    Acting mayor Vince Kerrio and Ald. Janice Wing did not vote because they declared conflicts of interest.

    Canadian Niagara Hotels will pay between $1.3 million and $1.5 million to the city under a provision of the Planning Act that permits developers to exceed the city’s 30-storey height limit in exchange for cash contributions. That payment will be used to pay for public projects to be determined later.

    Council also approved a request from Canadian Niagara Hotels to build an estimated $70-million waterpark on its property.

    Ald. Victor Pietrangelo said Canadian Niagara’s investment in the hotel, tower and waterpark should send a “strong message” to the provincial government about the long-term vaule of Casino Niagara as a catalyst for development.

    “We’re sending a message that we want to retain Casino Niagara. The developer is stepping up to the plate, saying, ‘I am willing to invest in this area if the province is willing to invest in the area,'” Pietrangelo said.

    Michael DiCienzo whose company owns Canadian Niagara Hotels said he wants to see Casino Niagara in the area, but both projects make sense for his company on their own merits.

    “We are doing what we feel is necessary from a business standpoint to redevelop our site regardless of the casino,” said DiCienzo said.

    Firefighters rescue woman from brink of Niagara Falls

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    From CNN (reproduced below):

    The woman is lifted on a rescue basket to safety

    The woman is lifted on a rescue basket to safety.

    Firefighters rescue woman from brink of Niagara Falls

    Wednesday, February 25, 2004 Posted: 10:21 AM EST (1521 GMT)

    (CNN) — Only 100 feet from the brink of Niagara Falls, rescue teams late Monday afternoon kept a woman from plunging over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls and a likely death.

    Shortly after 4:30 p.m., Niagara Parks Police were told of a woman floating in the Niagara River, several hundred yards from the falls, a police statement said.

    The woman grabbed onto a throw-rope police tossed down the icy banks of the river.

    Fred Hall of the Niagara Falls, Ontario, Fire Department was the first rescue worker to reach her.

    “All the way down, I just kept saying: ‘I’m coming. I’m coming. Just hang on, hang on,'” Hall said.

    Within an hour, the woman was lifted on a rescue basket to safety, trembling from the cold and slipping in and out of consciousness from hypothermia.

    “There is no foul play suspected in relation to this incident and it appears that the fifty-year old woman entered the river of her own free will,” the police statement said.

    Witness: Niagara Falls plunge ‘amazing’

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    From CNN (reproduced below):

    Witness: Niagara Falls plunge ‘amazing’

    Tuesday, October 21, 2003 Posted: 1:49 PM EDT (1749 GMT)

    Terry McMullen

    Terry McMullen

    Niagara plunge

    An unidentified man is taken into custody after his plunge over Niagara Falls.

    NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario (CNN) — Tourists visiting Niagara Falls this week were shocked when a man plunged over the waterfall and lived to pull himself out of the water. The man, who used no protective device and had nothing but his clothes on, was taken into custody Monday.

    CNN Anchor Soledad O’Brien spoke Tuesday with Terry McMullen, an eyewitness to the rare event.

    O’BRIEN: You’re a tourist, right? And you were at the top of the falls — tell me if I have the scenario right here — kind of looking out, looking down.

    MCMULLEN: Right.

    O’BRIEN: Suddenly you see this guy. Was he at the same level where you were? Was he at the top of the falls?

    MCMULLEN: He was at the very top of the falls, probably about 20 feet from the edge. And my wife had actually noticed him in the water. I was busy trying to change the film in my camera. And she said, she goes, “Oh my god, there’s a person.” And I looked down and sure enough there he was.

    He was basically looking right back at me when she mentioned that and I looked down and watched him. He had his hands above his head, face up, feet first, and the next thing I know, over the falls he goes.

    O’BRIEN: What was his demeanor? Was he — did he look distraught? Did he … ?

    MCMULLEN: Not at all. He looked actually very calm. He wasn’t screaming. He wasn’t yelling. He wasn’t doing anything any normal person wouldn’t do, I don’t think. But he was very, very calm. And over he went.

    O’BRIEN: So if you had to guess, would you say — it looked intentional? It didn’t look like somehow he was, he had, he fell in in any way?

    An unidentified man is taken into custody after his plunge over Niagara Falls.
    An unidentified man is taken into custody after his plunge over Niagara Falls.

    MCMULLEN: He wasn’t thrown in, or I don’t think he slipped in or anything like that. It was just, I don’t know what happened. But it just — it was very strange to see somebody that complacent or maybe he was just resigned to the fact that he was going to go and he just didn’t worry about it. But it’s — it was something to see, let me tell you.

    O’BRIEN: Yes, I can imagine. OK, so the guy goes over. What did you do? You must have been utterly shocked. Did you run and get help?

    MCMULLEN: Oh, we were. We were shocked. We went around the corner to where you can see down at the bottom of the falls, and we ran down probably about 50 yards or so, and nobody had seen anything.

    We saw the Maid of the Mist coming in, the boat that takes you over to the falls. And we saw them gathering some rope, saw a bunch of people on the boat actually hollering and waving and stuff.

    So we figured that they might have seen the body or something. Because we figured that’s what it would be — it would be a body because we figured there’s no way that anybody could survive.

    O’BRIEN: So when you saw this guy … come out alive, we’ve seen pictures of him covered in towels, police escorting him away … give me a sense of what that was like.

    MCMULLEN: Oh, it was amazing. Like I said, we went over there, and I had my Nikon with me. I started taking pictures. I saw the guy crawling out of the basin down there. He crawled up on a rock. He got on top of the rock and just collapsed. I guess he was pretty wore out from his venture.

    And then some rescuers come up from down in the tunnels that are down underneath here, and they actually had to rappel down and go get him. So we had a picture — we took pictures of all of that. So it made for a pretty exciting first day of vacation for us.

    Police to charge man who survived plunge over Niagara Falls

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    From CNN/AP (reproduced below):

    Police to charge man who survived plunge over Niagara Falls

    Tuesday, October 21, 2003 Posted: 2:25 PM EDT (1825 GMT)

    Niagara survivor

    Kirk Jones waits at the shoreline at the base of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls after surviving a plunge over Niagara Falls.

    NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario (AP) — A man who survived a plunge over Niagara Falls with only the clothes on his back will be charged with illegally performing a stunt, Niagara Parks Police said Tuesday.

    Kirk Jones, 40, of Canton, Michigan, is the first person known to have gone over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls without safety devices and lived. He could be fined $10,000.

    Stunned tourists described seeing Jones float by on his back Monday in the swift Niagara River, go headfirst over the churning 180-foot waterfall and then pull himself out of the water onto the rocks below.

    “He just looked calm. He just was gliding by so fast. I was in shock really that I saw a person go by,” Brenda McMullen told WIVB-TV in Buffalo.

    Jones was not seriously injured and remained hospitalized in Niagara Falls in stable condition.

    Police said they were ruling out the possibility it was a suicide attempt.

    “We’re investigating it as an intentional act,” Niagara Parks Police Inspector Paul Fortier said.

    He said psychological tests were being conducted at the hospital.

    Fortier said police have a videotape of the act that they believe was made by someone who accompanied Jones. That person has not been charged.

    Water rushes over the falls at a rate of 150,000 gallons per second.

    Only one other person is known to have survived a plunge over the Canadian falls without a barrel or other contraption — a 7-year-old boy who was wearing a life preserver when he fell into the water in a 1960 boating accident.

    No one has ever survived a trip over the narrower and rockier American falls.

    Since 1901, 15 daredevils have taken the plunge in barrels or other devices, including a kayak and a water jet-powered personal watercraft. Ten survived, said Niagara Falls historian Paul Gromosiak, who has written books on the subject.

    Suicides are not uncommon at Niagara Falls, although police are reluctant to give numbers.

    Lynda Satelmajer, of Brampton, Ontario, said she and her family watched the man as he entered the river and then went over the falls.

    “He seemed a bit edgy, kind of jumping around,” she said. “He walked over to where we were standing and he jumped and slid down on his backside and went over the brink.

    “It was really freaky, actually. He was smiling.”

    Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.

    More on going over the falls

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    The post I just made reminded me of the person who went over the falls a few years ago without any protection and survived. Kirk Jones certainly had his 15 minutes of fame. At first it was thought it was a suicide, and then it turns out that he had someone filming it.

    I found a couple of articles on the CNN web site about people going over the falls:

    Kirk Jones

    Other People

    Maid of the Mist tours sail into new season

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    From CNN/AP (reproduced below):

    Maid of the Mist tours sail into new season

    Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted: 11:42 AM EDT (1542 GMT)

    A Maid of the Mist ship exits the base of Horseshoe Falls

    A Maid of the Mist ship exits the base of Horseshoe Falls.

    A group of tourists brave opening day on the bow of a Maid of the Mist ship

    A group of tourists brave opening day on the bow of a Maid of the Mist ship.

    NIAGARA FALLS, New York (AP) — Capt. Gary English powered the Maid of the Mist away from its dock and headed toward Niagara Falls and its walls of rushing whitewater looming more than 17 stories high.

    He had 300 people aboard the boat for its first run of the year on April 21. By the season’s close in October, more than 2 million tourists will have been showered by mist from the famous waterfall aboard one of the double-decker boats in the Maid of the Mist fleet. Boats called Maid of the Mist have been bringing people here for more than 150 years.

    “The water temperature is 36 degrees. They’re going to be cold out there today,” English said as the steel boat churned through the lower Niagara River and into the basin that catches the water after its drop over the falls.

    Passengers standing outside on the decks pulled the hoods of blue disposable raincoats tight against the spray but made no moves to avoid it, not wanting to miss the spectacular view of Niagara Falls from below.

    “It’s brilliant,” said Ailsa Clark, visiting from Australia with her sister, Wendy.

    English seldom fails to please as he ferries passengers for this close-up view. Adults pay $11.50 and children $6.75 for the 20-minute ride.

    “You don’t often see anyone who’s not happy at the end,” he said.

    “They’re cold and wet, but they’re happy,” added mate Laurie Acker, who works alongside English in the small cabin.

    Niagara Falls is located on the international border between the U.S. and Canada, with cascades on both sides. The American Falls are 184 feet high and 1,060 feet wide, and the Canadian Falls — also called Horseshoe Falls — are 176 feet high and 2,200 feet wide. The falls are not the world’s widest or tallest, but the sight of their powerful flow — 748,000 gallons per second, much of which is harnessed today for hydroelectric power — has been drawing tourists since the early 1800s.

    Niagara Falls State Park was created in 1885, and visitors have been riding boats here called the Maid of the Mist since 1846. The early models were wooden sidewheel steamboats. They’ve evolved into steel, 74-ton vessels powered by two powerful diesel engines.

    The larger three boats, which launch from the Canadian shore, hold nearly 600 passengers. Two smaller boats leave from the American side with room for about 300.

    The Maid of the Mist captains see their share of the darker side of the Falls, sometimes coming across the suicide victims who leap from above. Even before this season’s opening day, a body was discovered at the base.

    “That’s the earliest one yet,” Acker said.

    English recalled seeing the upended kayak of ill-fated stunter Jessie Sharp bob by. Sharp rode his kayak over the brink of the Falls in 1990 as friends videotaped him. The 28-year-old Tennessee man was so confident he’d survive he had dinner reservations for later in the day. His body was never recovered.

    Looking up at the brink from the Maid of the Mist, the danger seems obvious.

    “That’s the problem,” said English, who grew up near the Falls and got his first job on the tour boats at 16. “People who are going to do these things don’t take a look.”

    The Maid of the Mist has attracted its share of celebrity tourists over the years, including Marilyn Monroe when she was shooting “Niagara” in the 1950s. Princess Diana, Sylvester Stallone, Mother Theresa and Joan Rivers have also been on board.

    Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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