Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 04:09 pm est

Bloomberg announces plan for record-breaking ferris wheel

Posted on October 3, 2012 | by Bennett Watanabe

In an effort to boost tourism in New York City’s “forgotten borough,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the city’s plans last Thursday to construct the world’s largest ferris wheel on the St. George waterfront on Staten Island.

The $230 million New York Wheel shall stand 625 feet in height, surpassing the Singapore Flyer, the London Eye and the planned Las Vegas High Roller. Its 36 capsules  would elevate 1,440 passengers to picturesque vantage points of the Statue of Liberty, the New York harbor and the lower Manhattan skyline. Below, a 470,000-square-foot complex, dubbed Harbor Commons, would host 100 designer outlet shops and a 200-room hotel.

The combined projects are expected to garner $480 million in private investments, creating 1,200 construction jobs and 1,100 permanent jobs within the Staten Island

community. According to Kyle Giunta, vice president of Robinson Lerer & Montgomery Finsbury, the communications firm for New York Wheel LLC, energy designs for the wheel will be driven by alternative energy and sustainability.

“Along with significant open green space at the site, the New York Wheel’s design will strive for Platinum [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certification, the highest rating of sustainable building, and expects to be powered predominantly by clean
energy,” Giunta said.

With construction set to begin early 2014, Mayor Bloomberg believes the wheel will make a lasting impression on New York’s overlooked borough.

“The New York Wheel will be an attraction unlike any other in New York City, even unlike any other on the planet,” Bloomberg said.

Staten Island, with its 470,000 inhabitants, is largely unnoticed as a compenent of New York City. CAS sophomore Saman Marji, a Staten Islander, is pleased the city has recognized its most suburban borough.

“Staten Island is like an adopted child compared to other boroughs,” Marji said. “It is about time that New York City government does something to help small businesses on the island.”

Steinhardt sophomore Martha Askandar remains uneasy about other issues that might be displaced as a result of the project.

“[Consider] the state of New York City public schools, local parks in underprivileged areas and the budget cuts that a lot of fine arts programs are experiencing,” Askandar said.

While New Yorkers express both enthusiasm and skepticism for the Wheel, the attraction would find its greatest market among tourists. NYU tourism professor Cary Broussard says the wheel will yield positive results for Staten Island.

“New York City is competing as a tourism destination in a global market and the wheel is raising the attraction of tourism overall,” Broussard said.

While the Staten Island Ferry carries 20 million passengers annually across the Upper New York Bay, Broussard said tourists tend to disregard a visit to the island.

“The majority of the tourists ride the ferry only to see the Statue of Liberty,” Broussard added.

For tourists like Australian Wayne Smith, a stop on Staten Island isn’t a top priority.

“It’s just a matter of fitting in what we can in seven days,” Smith said.

The grand opening of the wheel is expected by the end of 2015.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Oct. 3 print edition. Ben Watanabe is a contributing writer. Email him at


  • macklin Casnoff

    Its incredible watching ben develop as a writer. he is clearly the next best in the game; like a young jordan or jackson. A pre-madonna Davinci waiting to blossom.

profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.