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Published on Friday, September 28, 2012

Staten Eye-land: borough to get world's largest ferris wheel

Look out London Eye, here comes Staten Island's "wheel." 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other New York City officials have announced the birth of the world's largest ferris wheel—in Staten Island.

The as-yet unnamed wheel will be bigger than the London Eye and bigger than the current king of wheels—the Singapore Flyer which is 541 feet tall.

The wheel has a price tag of about $230 million and is estimated to draw about 4.5 million visitors a year.  The wheel will carry about 1,440 people at a time.  The complex itself will include a 100-shop mall and a 200-room hotel.

"It's going to be a real icon. The Ferris wheel will be Staten Island's Eiffel Tower," Sen. Charles Schumer said at the press conference on Thursday.

Set to open in 2015, Staten Island officials are hoping the wheel will draw visitors to what is sometimes called, "the forgotten borough." 

Movie-lovers may remember Staten Island as the home of big-haired Melanie Griffith's character in Working Girl, whose one hope is get to Manhattan.  It's also the home of TV's "Mob Wives." Staten Island is also known as the site of the Freshkills landfill—the largest garbage dump in the world.  The landfill is being transformed into Freshkills Park—an eco-space three times larger than Central Park, set to open in phases over the next 30 years.

'We've gone from having the world's biggest dump to having the world's biggest wheel,' Staten Island Borough President, James Molinaro said.


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