Gawkers Flock to See Blaine

ByABC News via GMA logo
May 3, 2006, 8:30 AM

NEW YORK, May 3, 2006 — -- As illusionist David Blaine sits in a glass sphere filled with water, spectators pass by at Lincoln Center.

On his way home, Jonathan Goltzman, who lives just a few blocks away from Blaine's exhibit, expressed dismay.

"You want to know what I think? Honestly, Lincoln Center is a cultural institution in the city. Do we really need a publicity hound like this to detract from its beauty? How do you compare this to great works like 'La Boheme'? Do we really benefit from this?"

Blaine entered the sphere on Monday. He will stay there until May 8 when he will remove his breathing tube and attempt to hold his breath for nine minutes, breaking the world record of 8 minutes, 58 seconds. He will be handcuffed to 150 pounds of chain and try to free himself during the final stunt, which will air in an ABC television special.

Glen Hodgson from Manchester, England, compared this exhibit to a 2003 Blaine stunt in London when he was suspended 30 feet in the air in a clear box over a park for 44 days.

"People are much nicer here. When Blaine was doing his thing in England, people got drunk and threw coins and eggs at him," he said.

Even kids waiting to see Blaine found his stunt unusual.

John Weinbuck, 13, of the Bronx, N.Y., admires Blaine, but said, "Staying in a sphere filled with water for eight days is a little crazy and sick."

Some were uncertain that the stunt was authentic.

"I don't think he is really doing it. I want to know how he can stay underwater for so long. Won't his skin get messed up? How's he going to go eight days without sleep?" asked Trey Torres, 7, of Brooklyn.

Not everyone was at Lincoln Center to witness Blaine's exhibit. Mercedes Garcia from Queens attended the Metropolitan Opera House to see Handel's "Rodelinda."

"I haven't really checked Blaine out, but the opera was good," she said.

Blaine's previous feats include being buried for seven days, standing encased in ice for 61 hours, standing on a platform on top of a 100-foot pole for 35 hours, and living in the box in London.