Watch Out, London Eye! New York to Get World’s Tallest Ferris Wheel

Wheel’s Up. A rendering of the New York Wheel, to be built on Staten Island.

Round and round she goes, and where she stops…well, it will be Staten Island. Start overcoming your acrophobia through therapeutic sketch-journaling now, design fans, because New York City is getting its very own London Eye-style “observation wheel,” and at 625 feet—roughly 60 stories—high, it will be the world’s tallest. Mayor Michael Bloomberg (whose name one rarely hears in the same sentence as “world’s tallest”) and other city leaders joined representatives from the company in charge of the project yesterday for the announcement of plans for the New York Wheel, which will be built on the northeastern side of Staten Island and offer riders swell views of the Lower and Midtown Manhattan skylines, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn, and the New York Harbor. The mega Ferris Wheel was proposed in response to the NYC Economic Development Corp’s request for bids for projects that would increase economic growth, boost tourism, and create jobs on Staten Island.

The wheel will be nestled beside a large terminal building that will feature exhibitions about NYC history, alternative energy, and environmental sustainability—created in collaboration with Cornell’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Johnson and the global relief and development agency CARE. Meanwhile, both the wheel and the terminal building will be constructed with an eye to Platinum LEED certification. Among the architects, engineers, designers, and consultants who have been tapped to work on the project are Starneth (the Ferris Wheel specialists that built the London Eye) and Perkins Eastman. Construction on the New York Wheel is expected to begin in early 2014 with a grand opening scheduled for early 2016. If all goes according to plan, the 36 capsules will carry some of their first passengers on New Year’s Eve 2015.