The London Eye. photo: Wikipedia
Is New York looking to add a giant ferris wheel to the Staten Island waterfront? The Wall Street Journal reports that the Bloomberg administration has been in discussion with a developer who has sights set on just that – a giant ferris wheel similar to the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer, near the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island.
Singapore Flyer. photo via: manilenio.com
Plans being considered would make this observation wheel the tallest in the world, topping at around 600 feet. The Singapore Flyer holds the current world record at 541 feet, followed by the Star of Nanchang at 525 feet and the London Eye at 443 feet. Ferris or Observation Wheels are popular in many cities around the world, drawing millions of visitors each year.
Site aerial. photo: NYCEDC
Despite the more than 2 million tourists a year that ride the Staten Island ferry for the spectacular views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, the area surrounding the ferry terminal has little to offer. No retail, restaurants or entertainment to speak of, other than a little known minor league baseball stadium.
Plaza Capital Group Management, an investor group, has proposed developing the site furthest northwest of the ferry terminal. Their plan includes building the worlds tallest (600 foot high) observation wheel to entice the steady stream of tourists who ride the ferry to venture inland.
Statue of Liberty and Staten Island Ferry. photo: Tourist Eye
The Plaza group isn’t the first to propose a ferris wheel in the New York harbor. In 2010, Douglas Durst and Tom Fox of New York Water Taxi, proposed a large observation wheel on Governors Island, but the $100 million project was rejected by city officials.
From the Wall Street Journal: Mr. Fox said Tuesday that he considered the Staten Island site, but felt it had many challenges, including its distance—more than five miles from the tip of Lower Manhattan.
“We looked at the Staten Island site when it was offered and decided it really couldn’t justify the investment,” he said. “The further away you get, you get summer haze, fog, rain—all of them would obscure the view.”
The Star of Nanchang. photo via: Show in China OnSugar
No deal has been reached at this time. Several proposals are being reviewed by the EDC and any development would first need to be approved by the City Council.
What do you think? Will a ferris wheel help to revitalize Staten Island’s north shore? Leave your POV in comments.
Don’t forget: Kill Van Kull Walking Tour this Saturday! Click here for tickets & info.
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee