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Staten Island Ferris Wheel Could be Top Tourist Destination, Mayor Says

By Jill Colvin | June 29, 2012 12:04pm
The Singapore Flyer, which is currently the largest ferris wheel in the world.
The Singapore Flyer, which is currently the largest ferris wheel in the world.
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Chris McGrath/Getty Images

NEW YORK CITY — The Eiffel Tower, the Roman Ruins and… Staten Island?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg raved about a proposal to build the world’s largest ferris wheel in Staten Island Friday, saying the attraction would help the borough become a top-tier tourist destination.

“The one in London is phenomenally successful,” the mayor said during his weekly radio sit-down with WOR’s John Gambling, when asked about a plan being floated by the City’s Economic Development to build a huge wheel in St. George offering views across the water to Manhattan.

“It’s a great idea. Hopefully it gets done," he said.

The famous London Eye ferris wheel, which sits on the bank of the Thames overlooking the Houses of Parliament, features large, enclosed glass pods that can hold up to 25 passengers who can opt for luxury wine or champagne tasting sessions while taking in the views.

“People have parties, they rent it. You get great views and you have wine and beer,” described the mayor, as he imagined a similar ride high above the Big Apple.

“You probably can’t have a grill for hot dogs, hamburgers. But you could bring some cheese or sandwiches along,” he said.

“This is not like a Coney Island ferris wheel," Gambling chimed.

The proposed Staten Island wheel would be built in a similar fashion to the London Eye, which is 443 feet tall, and the Singapore Flyer, which is 541 feet tall.

Staten Island's attraction would be about 600 feet.

The ferris wheel idea is part of a larger effort to bring new attractions to the suburban-feeling borough to encourage tourists riding the Staten Island Ferry to actually leave the terminal instead of turning right around and boarding a ship back downtown.

The billionaire mayor has long touted the free ferry as a top-notch dating destination.

“The price is right. And at night, it’s very romantic,” he said.

The mayor also praised an idea proposed years ago to build a gondola to Governors Island that would travel from Red Hook in Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan, and suggested he might one day help foot the bill.

“Somebody down the road should take that on as a project," he said. "I’d love to help support it."