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NYC Board Approves Plan For Giant Ferris Wheel On Staten Island

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New York City's Planning Commission has approved a plan for a Ferris wheel on Staten Island that's billed as one of the world's largest. It now goes before the City Council for a final decision.

The CEO of New York Wheel LLC, Rich Marin, said the company is pleased with the commission's action.

The 625-foot Ferris wheel would have a view of the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor and the Manhattan skyline.

By comparison, the first Ferris wheel – which was the largest attraction at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 – measured only 324 feet.

The New York Wheel would be the world's tallest Ferris wheel if it were built today. It would be taller than the current tallest Ferris wheel, the "High Roller" wheel in Las Vegas which at 550 feet is 9 feet taller than its closest competitor, the Singapore Flyer, and 100 feet taller than the London Eye.

But developers in Dubai could eventually beat the New York Wheel. They are planning to build a 689-foot Ferris wheel called the Dubai Eye.

The new Ferris wheel would be the centerpiece of a new complex which would also include a hotel, a 350,000 square foot retail space called "Harbor Commons" that would be adjacent to the Richmond County Bank Ballpark.

The mayor's office estimated the wheel would draw as many as 30,000 riders per day and 4.5 million visitors a year. A ride on the Ferris wheel would take about 30 minutes, start to finish.

The wheel would have 36 capsules, capable of carrying 40 people each.

Construction of the New York Wheel is expected to begin in 2014, with a grand opening in 2016.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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