Just when you thought there was real danger of running out of things to see and do in New York City…
You may have heard talk last summer of Staten Island getting a giant Ferris wheel to rival the London Eye. Then came Hurricane Sandy and there went much of Staten Island. It’s easy to understand if you haven’t heard any more about the “New York Wheel” since most news from New York is about rebuilding after the storm, but it appears plans for the Ferris wheel and adjoining retail center are moving ahead. In January, the city’s Economic Development Corp. said it’s “as committed as ever” to the $500-million plan, though some adjustments are being made to the plans to better weather future storm threats.
Last September, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled development plans for the St. George area near the Staten Island Ferry terminal. Plans include a 470,000-square-foot Harbor Commons complex, featuring New York’s first designer outlet mall and a 200-room hotel. The Ferris wheel itself would tower 625 feet, making it the largest in the world; taller than the London Eye, the High Roller wheel proposed for the Las Vegas strip, and the Singapore Flyer, currently the world’s largest.
“The New York Wheel will be an attraction unlike any other in New York City – even unlike any other on the planet,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “It will offer unparalleled and breathtaking views, and is sure to become one of the premier attractions in New York City and the latest exciting addition to our newly revitalized waterfront.”
With thirty-six capsules, each able to carry as many as 40 passengers, the giant Ferris wheel is expected to welcome as many as 30,000 riders per day during peak season, and an estimated 4.5 million visitors per year. Construction is expected to begin in the winter of 2014 and be completed by late 2015.