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This giant ferris wheel could be coming to Staten Island

It looks like the New York Wheel could be making a comeback.

Written by
Howard Halle
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Staten Island is often thought of as the odd borough out of NYC, home to a weather-predicting rodent and a cranky populace that has occasionally expressed its dissatisfaction with being part of the city by entertaining calls to secede from it. These days, S.I. is probably best known as the birthplace of comedian and inexplicable serial dater of hot female stars Pete Davidson, who epically shit-talked the place on Saturday Night Live, then made a movie about growing up there.

Staten Island, New York City, Pete Davidson, Saturday Night Live, New York Wheel, London Eye
Photograph: Courtesy Courtesy S9 Architects/Perkins Eastman

Staten Island has also been the beneficiary of many pie-in-the-sky proposals to make it more appealing for gentrification—projects like a planned aerial gondola to ease commuting to and from there. Then there's the New York Wheel, an amusement ride cum landmark meant to revitalize the St. George waterfront not far from the Staten Island Ferry. After receiving official approval from City Council, the Wheel began construction in 2015 before it was abandoned three years later due to lack of funding. Now, as reported by silive.com via the The Architect's Newspaper it may be returning, albeit in diminished form.

Staten Island, New York City, Pete Davidson, Saturday Night Live, New York Wheel, London Eye
Photograph: Courtesy S9 Architecture/Perkins Eastman

As originally conceived, the project, which was was inspired by the London Eye, would have soared to 630 feet, making it the largest such structure in the world (the Eye, by comparison, stands at a mere 443 feet). Designed by Perkins Eastman in association with S9 Architecture, the New York Wheel had a sleek, futuristic profile with bullet-shaped gondolas that could accommodate groups of people, affording them spectacular views of Lower Manhattan and New York Harbor out to the Verrazano Bridge. While details of the replacement Wheel have yet to be released, it's expected to be at least as tall as its progenitor in London.

Staten Island, New York City, Pete Davidson, Saturday Night Live, New York Wheel, London Eye
Photograph: Courtesy S9 Architecture/Perkins Eastman

Things first ran afoul for the New York Wheel in 2017 when the engineering firm hired to construct it reportedly walked off the job. The following year, the receipt of $140 million in tax-exempt city bonds fell through, sealing the project's fate. In 2019, components of the Wheel that had already been built were auctioned off. The company behind the plan is still paying rent on the eight-acre site, which may account for all of the talk about resurrecting the idea.

Staten Island, New York City, Pete Davidson, Saturday Night Live, New York Wheel, London Eye
Photograph: Courtesy S9 Architecture/Perkins Eastman

Before the wheels came off of the original plan, it was intended to serves as a "marquee destination on the Staten Island waterfront," and it may yet do so; it wouldn't be the first building project in New York City that came back from the dead.

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