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Big Wheel for the Big Apple

The world's largest Ferris wheel will rise in New York City

2 min read
Big Wheel for the Big Apple

A 191-meter-high Ferris wheel with 36 pods, each big enough to hold 40 gawking tourists, is to be built on New York's Staten Island, the New York City government announced today.


Ahhh. At long last, we New Yorkers have a mega-engineering project of our own.


It's been a long time since big things were built for the sake of bigness here, or anywhere else in the United States. Other countries, particularly in Asia, still have that soaring ambition, as this list of the tallest skyscrapers shows. But Ferris wheels are even more fun: Singapore is home to the tallest wheel, the 165-meter Singapore Flyer. Beijing was to have had a 208-meter wheel by 2008, but the finances went sour, and the project was shelved in 2010.


New York's wheel would provide not only a great ride but also a chance to see the Manhattan skyline one more reason, besides the free Staten Island Ferry (which the wheel will abut), to visit the least-toured borough in the city. Construction is supposed to start in 2014 and end the following year. First, though, the project has to get through the city’s byzantine system for land-use approval.


New York Wheel LLC, the investing group behind the project, says it expects to spend US$250 million on the wheel and accompanying buildings. The contractor, Netherlands-based Starneth, built the 135-meter London Eye in 2000. A hydraulic system driven by electric pumps turns that wheel in 30 minutes; a ride on the New York Wheel is expected to take 38 minutes.


One of the main technical challenges to these things is just getting the parts of the structure into place. Starneth built the London Eye by barging in sections on the Thames, assembling them flat against the ground, and then using a jack system to elevate the 1,200-metric-ton wheel over the course of a day.










The Conversation (0)
This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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