Times Square Ferris wheel comes down after attracting thousands of people a day

Times Square is about to get a lot more crowded as the Great White Way officially reopens on Tuesday — but there won’t be a Ferris wheel there to greet them.

The carnival attraction that stood on Broadway between West 47th St. and West 48th Streets will be completely taken down by Wednesday after 18 days of operation.

It was meant to attract tourists to the Big Apple’s top attraction at a slow time for the city — and it looks to have done that.

On average, about 3,200 people a day took a spin on the Ferris wheel from Aug. 25 to Sept. 12, according to its operator, Vito Bruno who runs a Brooklyn-based entertainment production company. Bruno paid for the installation of the wheel; he didn’t disclose financial terms with the city.

The ride ran at near fully capacity — it was allowed to carry 300 people per hour — according to Bruno.

The last ride was at midnight on Sunday after some 18 days in use — with the exception of a couple of days in which it was forced to close due to Hurricane Ida and the subsequent flooding in the city.

A number of public officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio took a spin on the wheel.
G.N.Miller/NYPost

“It was a huge success,” Times Square Alliance president, Tom Harris said. “It bridged the gap for us between the end of summer and the start of Broadway.”

Not everyone agreed that it was good deal at $20 a pop for a 10-minute ride — or that it even gave a decent view of the city given it was sandwiched between skyscrapers.

“People don’t come to Times Square to ride a Ferris wheel. That’s what church bazaars and seaside boardwalks are for,” wrote TravelPulse

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. The Post’s Johnny Oleksinski described it as a “lousy rip-off” that compares poorly with other big-city attractions like London Eye that provides 360 degree views of the city.

Located just west of Duffy Square on Broadway between West 47th St. and West 48th Streets, the wheel nevertheless helped to drive a 13 percent increase in foot traffic in Times Square over the weekends to an average of 243,918 per day compared to 216,144 during the previous three weekends in 2021, according to the alliance’s figures.

People waiting in line to ride the Ferris wheel while mayor Bill de Blasio stands nearby.
An average of 3,200 people a day rode on the Ferris wheel.
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Times Square is no stranger to quirky attractions.

In 2019 alone, a 60 foot mega yacht by luxury manufacturer, Azimut-Benetti, was on display for five days in June while a vintage 220 foot-long TWA airplane was also on display to promote the new TWA Hotel at JFK International airport.

In October, an 18-foot fountain made from acrylic fingernails by the artist Pamela Council is coming to Duffy Square, according to a press release.

The Ferris wheel turning with people on board.
The giant Ferris wheel is being dismantled and will be gone by Wednesday.
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Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

It’s too early to say whether the Ferris wheel will return again, but if it does, Bruno says he’d use one that’s enclosed and can accommodate smaller children.

The minimum height for the wheel was 42 inches — as per insurance requirements — which caused quite a bit of consternation for families with small children who were not allowed into the open gondolas.

One family with three girls between the ages of five and nine was informed they couldn’t include their youngest, Bruno recalled.

“The littlest one didn’t make it by an inch and the next one looks at me with a straight face and says ‘Listen If I give you $10 bucks on the side, would you let her in?’” Bruno told The Post

Another little girl who was also too small for the ride, told him, “I don’t like you, you have no hair.”

Bruno, who runs AMPM Entertainment Concepts, says if there’s a next time, he’d bring in a Ferris wheel that’s “air conditioned and plays music.”

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