At least that’s what officials hope. The Staten Island ferry, the third most popular tourist destination in New York, carries about 2 million tourists a year. But most of them just hop off the ferry at St. George terminal in Staten Island and then catch the next ferry back to Manhattan. Officials envision the $230 million New York Wheel as a way to keep them on Staten Island.
The Eye “brought people to that part of London, and it will bring people to this part of Staten Island,” said Schumer. One suggested name: the Staten Eye.
The major attraction of the new Ferris wheel will be the “breathtaking” views, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Riders will look out across New York Harbor and will see the Statue of Liberty, which is 305 feet from ground level to the tip of the torch, as well as the New York skyline. The Verrazano Bridge will be visible, as well as parts of New Jersey. Riders will look down on a baseball stadium where the minor league Staten Island Yankees play.
Once ferry riders leave the terminal, officials are hoping they also stop at a planned retail outlet mall, Harbor Commons, the first such facility in the city. They hope to entice what they term “suitcase tourists,” who currently buy a suitcase and then take a bus or rent a car to go to Woodbury Commons, an outlet mall about an hour north of the city.
For a long time, the residents of Staten Island felt removed from New York. There have been rumblings about seceding since many residents feel the Democrat-controlled city institutions ignore Republican Staten Island.