New York may soon get its own London Eye on Staten Island

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Could something similar to the famed London Eye be coming to New York?

Parking lots on the north shore of Staten Island near the ferry terminal may become the home of a Ferris wheel bigger than the London Eye, according to a person familiar with the potential deal.

A bid from New York’s Plaza Capital Group Management LLC to build the attraction leads four other proposals to develop the area in the borough, said a person briefed on the matter who wasn’t authorized to speak about it. The other four bids, which proposed mixes of office and commercial space, are far behind the wheel idea, the person said. The news was reported earlier by the Staten Island Advance.

The New York City Economic Development Corp. last year asked developers for ideas on developing two parcels on Staten Island’s St. George waterfront, which has missed out on the “huge opportunity” of New York City’s 8 million residents, according to the agency. About 70,000 commuters pass through the ferry terminal daily.

“It’s the greatest thing that has been proposed for Staten Island, especially on the waterfront,” James Molinaro, the borough president, said in a telephone interview. “This could landmark us. We have 2 million tourists a year on the ferry, so we have a built-in audience to use it, and it’s a different audience every day. Once you can attract them off that boat, you got them here.”

Meir Laufer, the chief executive officer of Plaza, didn’t immediately return a telephone call and e-mail seeking comment.

Bigger than the London Eye?

At a proposed height of 600 feet, the Ferris wheel would be bigger than the London Eye, on the South bank of the Thames.

The Eye is the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel at nearly 443 feet high, and provides “unrivalled views” of the city to 10,000 visitors a day. The wheel’s capsules travel at 0.6 miles per hour.

The New York City Council would need to approve any project.

Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, confirmed that the city has heard from several companies interested in developing the land.


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