Monday, October 01, 2012

World’s Tallest Ferris Wheel Planned for Staten Island

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Thursday that the world’s tallest Ferris wheel would rise above the Staten Island waterfront. The 625-foot-tall ride will displace the Singapore Flyer, at 541 feet the record-holder of the moment.

And what about the High Roller wheel planned for Las Vegas? The New York wheel will reach 75 feet farther into the sky. It will dwarf the 13-year-old London Eye by 182 feet and the original Ferris wheel, built for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, by 361 feet.

As if those statistics were not enough, here are more: The Staten Island wheel will be almost three times the height of the largest Ferris wheel in the United States, the 212-foot machine at the Texas State Fair. As it happens, the Texas wheel is the same size as the Riesenrad in Vienna, which figured in movies like “The Third Man” (1949) and “Scorpio” (1973).

Locally, the new wheel will be more than 10 times the height of the 60-foot one at the Toys “R” Us store in Times Square. Never mind that that wheel is indoors.

The Staten Island wheel — on which construction is expected to begin in two years, with an opening goal of 2015 — will be big in other ways. It will carry 1,440 people at once, 10 times as many as the Wonder Wheel in Coney Island (which, for the record, was originally called the Dip-the-Dip). The Singapore Flyer can accommodate only 840 at a time, the London Eye 800 (the passenger load of 11 double-decker buses, according to the London Eye’s Web site).

Still, the race is on. Norman D. Anderson, the author of “Ferris Wheels: An Illustrated History” (Popular Press, 1992), wondered how long the new New York wheel would reign as No. 1. “Everybody has to have something a little bigger,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time before we go to 1,000 feet.”

No comments: