The New York Wheel, when opened on Staten Island in Spring 2018, will be the world’s tallest at 630 feet. Starting Monday, the first major components of the ferris wheel – pieces of the four legs – were unloaded at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park, a location managed on behalf of the city by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). The location could not be more fitting, showcasing the revitalization of Brooklyn’s working waterfront with a direct view to the future site of the New York Wheel.
The construction and installation of the New York Wheel is through a joint venture between Dutch engineering companies Mammoet and Starneth, the firm behind the London Eye, with support components for the structure, including the legs, made by Italian engineering firm Walter Tosto at the Ortona and Chieti workshops in Abruzzo, Italy. The design of the New York Wheel is by Perkins Eastman and S9 Architecture, whose principal Navid Maqami, is also in charge of the Empire Stores project in Dumbo. Other parts will also be made abroad – the rim of the wheel in Turkey, numerous pieces like the drive towers and capsules in the Netherlands, the drive and restraint system in the Czech Republic. A different firm Italy will make the spoke cables.
The entire wheel structure will weigh about 6000 tons and will be 600 feet in diameter. Each leg, made of two parts, weights 500 tons and will be 275 feet tall. As of yesterday’s press conference, with speeches by NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer, Rich Marin, President & CEO- New York Wheel, Staten Island Deputy Borough President, Ed Burke and Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, there were a few pieces of the legs still waiting to be unloaded onto the dock.
Maria Torres-Springer, “This is part of the incredible industrial heritage of Sunset Park and the Brooklyn waterfront. These pieces, as mentioned, are really among the first cargo that’s come into this facility really in over a decade. We’re so thrilled to be able to leverage this asset to reactivate, to reignite that industrial heritage, here in Sunset Park…By the time the Wheel opens, it won’t just be an iconic destination, it will really be a job generator on Staten Island.” According to Torres-Spring, the Wheel will bring over 350 construction jobs and over 350 permanent jobs.
Staten Island Deputy Borough President, Ed Burke, opened with a bunch of puns: “I think we can officially say these are the biggest legs in New York City. This only goes to prove that New York Wheel has a ‘leg up’ on its competition. With Mammoet this is a ‘mammoth’ undertaking!” He points out that soon, films shot in New York City will feature the New York Wheel, giving a new landmark to New York Harbor and Staten Island. He sees the New York Wheel as a “huge catalyst” in the revitalization of the New York waterfront.
Brooklyn Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who represents Sunset Park, “We all believe that the Brooklyn waterfront, especially our working and industrial waterfront is alive and well. That ship behind me is an indicator of Sunset park’s manufacturing and maritime facilities that our ready to serve our people, our workers. Our big ideas, like the New York Wheel, can only happen if we keep these facilities alive and well. Many of New York’s irresponsible development community is looking and eying at places like this for other uses. And to them, we have to show them this. Which is why we’re here and we’re hoping that you send this message that this is just the beginning, as in a short term activation use, of more to come.”
The event was also attended by local Brooklyn union members – a managing member mentioned that the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal “has been vacant for more than twenty years….we have the working expertise to continue the operations here in Brooklyn. This is nothing more than an extension of what we are working towards in continuing a Brooklyn working waterfront.” The industrial workers here were also responsible for the steel delivered for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and the Verrazano Bridge.