As New York’s most-visited district gears up for a return to normality, a giant pop-up Ferris wheel is opening in Times Square, as a way to welcome visitors back to the heart of the Big Apple.
The oversized attraction is being billed as the city's newest landmark and is opening to visitors on Wednesday.
Towering about 30 metres above Broadway Plaza, the Times Square Wheel promises riders views of the surrounding streets, hotels, shops, restaurants and action. The pop-up attraction is slated to be in New York until September 12, and tickets to ride the wheel start from $20 for adults.
Organisers say the ride gives visitors a “sensory overload” as they “soar 110 feet through a canyon of spectacular billboards”. They’re also calling the ride New York’s ultimate new selfie location.
Sitting in gondolas that accommodate up to six adults, visitors will be assigned a specific time slot for each 12-minute spin of the wheel. As riders soar to a height of more than 11 storeys, they'll be able to enjoy whole new vantage points of Times Square.
Owned by Ray Cammack Shows, a carnival entertainment company that's been in operation for more than 50 years, the wheel being used is a star attraction – it’s the same Ferris wheel that is often spotted at Coachella music festival.
Open daily from noon until midnight, the wheel will take riders high into the sky for daytime views over New York's busiest crossroads, while night-time riders can soar above a twinkling Broadway skyline.
Tickets can be purchased online or at the on-site ticket booth. Children over 5 can also ride with tickets costing $15, but only under adult supervision. For those looking to avoid queues, a fast-track ticket costs $35.
Free jazz, music and festivals ahead of Broadway return
The idea behind the initiative is to give Times Square a tourism boost ahead of Broadway’s grand reopening, which is set for September.
Since New York Covid-19 restrictions eased, foot traffic in the area has already picked up, according to the Times Square Alliance, which said it recorded 230,000 people walking through Times Square at the weekend beginning Saturday, August 7.
That's less than the pre-Covid visitor numbers of more than 360,000 a day, but well above visitor numbers during the pandemic, when Times Square closed in March 2020.
Free jazz concerts, arts programmes and outdoor festivals have been taking place in a bid to rebuild one of the world's most-visited places. In July alone, more than 30 television shows and films were recorded in Times Square, said the Times Square Alliance.