Who’s afraid of a 62-story Ferris wheel?
Not the New York City Council, which on Wednesday approved a plan to install a 625-foot observation wheel on Staten Island that’s being called one of the tallest in the world. It will be part of a $580 million redevelopment project on the North Shore of the island that will also include an outlet mall and a new hotel.
"The New York Wheel and Empire Outlets will become one of the city's most popular destinations, drawing millions of visitors every year — not just from the five boroughs and the region, but also nationwide and around the globe," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement, calling the vote to approve the plan a "momentous day for Staten Island."
According to reports, the massive Ferris wheel will offer sweeping views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty, with the city’s skyline in the distance. It is expected to draw tourists to the little-visited Staten Island and create as many as 2,000 jobs. Construction is slated to begin next year, with opening day scheduled for 2016.
"This is the biggest thing that ever happened to the North Shore of Staten Island," New York City Councilwoman Debi Rose told the Staten Island Advance after the council's vote.
A race to the top
As of 2013, the 625-foot New York Wheel would be the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, but it likely won’t hold that title by the time it’s actually built. Neither will the 550-foot High Roller in Las Vegas, which is currently under construction. Developers in Dubai are reportedly planning to start construction on a 689-foot observation wheel later this year to be called the Dubai Eye that will dwarf all current wheels.
Here are the top mega-Ferris wheels currently in service:
1. Singapore Flyer; Marina Centre, Singapore: 541 feet (2008)
2. Star of Nanchang; Nanchang, Jiangxi, China: 525 feet (2006)
3. London Eye; London, U.K.: 443 feet (2000)
T-4. Suzhou Ferris Wheel; Suzhou, Jiangsu, China: 394 feet (2009)
T-4. Melbourne Star; Waterfront City, Melbourne, Australia: 394 feet (2008)
T-4. Tianjin Eye; Yongle Bridge, Tianjin, China: 394 feet (2008)
T-4. Changsha Ferris Wheel; Changsha, Hunan, China: 394 feet (2004)
T-4. Zhengzhou Ferris Wheel; Henan Province, China: 394 feet (2003)
T-4. Sky Dream Fukuoka; Fukuoka, Japan: 394 feet (2002)
10. Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel; Tokyo, Japan: 384 feet (2001)