By Raanan Geberer, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
When Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday announced plans to build the world’s largest Ferris wheel at St. George, Staten Island, it meant that Borough President Marty Markowitz lost his wish to erect the wheel in Coney Island.
The “New York Wheel,” modeled after the gigantic London Eye, which towers over the Thames River, will have enclosed passenger capsules and would be accompanied by a new retail complex.
The site is next to the Richmond County Bank Ballpark, home of the Staten Island Yankees, rivals of the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Earlier this year, Borough President Markowitz said, “The city should consider what location will provide the biggest bang for the buck, and the strongest economic return, and no doubt that place is Coney Island.”
Coney Island USA President Dick Zigun also advocated for Coney Island, saying that the city has already spent millions to enhance the boardwalk, which makes it a better location for the wheel than Staten Island.
In the end, however, Staten Island, which was the first site mentioned for the gigantic “observation wheel,” won out.
The developer, which heretofore was kept secret, was identified at the press conference as New York Wheel LLC, headed by Richard A. Marin, president.
Borough President Marty Markowitz told the Eagle this summer that the wheel would be essential to Staten Island’s growth, since the great majority of tourists who take the Staten Island Ferry from Manhattan nowadays take the ferry right back without exploring the island’s attractions.
If the city had chosen Coney as the site of the New York Wheel, it would have joined the Parachute Jump, MCU Park, the Cyclone roller-coaster, the Wonder Wheel and Luna Park as part of the amusement area’s attractions.