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Ferris Wheels: What the World Needs Now?

Ellen Levitt

Posted on September 2, 2021 02:08

1 user

I took a ride on the much-hyped Times Square Wheel. How did it compare to a few other famous wheels I've taken for a spin?

Sometimes you need to do something fun and frivolous. These past few weeks have been very busy: teaching several extra sessions, writing assignments, moving my daughters to their college dorms, taking one daughter to a local Emergency Room for stomach problems, attending a wedding, participating in religious services. My throat is hoarse, I've spent a lot of money, I have lots of worries, and major Jewish holidays are fast approaching. I needed to do one frivolous thing for fun.

So I went to Times Square and took a ride on the much-hyped #TimesSquareWheel. It took less than an hour via walking and subway train each way, so it was an indulgence.

Prior to this Ferris Wheel ride, the most famous wheels I'd gone on were the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island, the London Eye, and the High Roller in Las Vegas. We went on one in Canada on a pier, and one at Six Flags-Great Adventure in New Jersey. I've been on a few at large street fairs and other amusement parks. 

The Wonder Wheel is great fun and like an old friend for me, since I've taken rides on it for a few decades. The London Eye had excellent views of the City and was enjoyable, if touristy. The High Roller was exciting and had amazing views. I was very impressed by it.

So how did the Times Square Wheel measure up? As a cutesy diversion it was fun, but it didn't have the "wow" factor for me. However, I did get several interesting views while on it.

Approaching the Wheel it did impress me, and seemed a bit jarring in this part of busy Manhattan. However, it had been raining earlier in the day and thus the Wheel was underattended while I rode. I had a gondola all to myself, and was able to switch positions without hassling anyone, which was a plus. The ride lasted 12-13 minutes, on the longer end of what's promised on the website.

I had good views of Times Square overall. But while Times Square is flashy and a people magnet, it's not nearly as mobbed as it had been, pre-Pandemic. Many times over the years I've walked (or struggled to walk) through the Square, to get to theater productions or to meet friends at restaurants. And now that the once-iconic Toys R Us store is but a memory, and shows have not resumed, it's still not the Times Square of legend. 

Before I went on the Wheel, I stopped by the statue of the legendary showman George M. Cohan. I gazed at it, took a photo, and wondered what that showman would think of Times Square without the bustle and hustle it had, even over 100 years ago. 

After the Wheel I stopped by the Krispy Kreme shop and bought a donut. I munched on it outside, and watched people walk by. 

Times Square is still legendary, but these days its lights are somewhat dimmed. 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on September 2, 2021 02:08

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Source: ArtForum

Times Square billboard.

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