Times Square, already perhaps the most overly-stimulating place on the planet, has now introduced a 110-foot high Ferris wheel to its neon landscape. The Times Square Wheel, which opened on Wednesday, takes up an entire block, and will spin you around in a billion-pixel canyon of animated advertisements.
You know NYC is back, baby, when a new overpriced attraction lands in Times Square.
"Everybody's been locked up and businesses have been locked down for so long, we were looking for something to bring people out and give them a good time," said Vito Bruno, who runs AMPM Entertainment Concepts, the Brooklyn-based outfit responsible for the Times Square Wheel. "We want to bring people back to Times Square, get a great hotel room for a staycation, go to the bars, the amazing restaurants, and most importantly buy a ticket to the shows that are about to reopen. And while you're here, in the greatest city on the greatest street in New York, you can get the greatest selfie on our fabulous Ferris wheel."
All that greatness will cost you, though. Tickets for what's billed as a 12-minute ride on the Times Square Wheel run $15 for kids (10 and under), $20 for everyone else, and a whopping $40 (including tax) if you tack on "skip the line" privileges.
Admittedly, once it gets going it is kind of fun, and it feels much higher than it appears from the ground, but really, what was most surprising to me about the ride, and the views, is how empty pandemic-era Times Square still looks at 3 p.m. on a weekday afternoon.
Sofia Nicole, who rode with her young daughter, was more effusive about the thing. "I loved it!" she said. "The experience once you get up top is phenomenal. It's actually way better than what you think it would be. I'm very impressed. And when it started going fast at the top, yeah it was scary."
Michael Melendez, who was visiting NYC from Philadelphia, agreed. "We had no idea it was here and it was kind of one of those random experiences: a Ferris wheel in the middle of Times Square, why not? It was good! I mean, it's a Ferris wheel, you go in circles, but it's enjoyable, with nice views. If you're in town, go for it."
The Times Square Wheel is located on Broadway between 47th and 48th Streets, just north of the Red Steps in Duffy Square, and is open from noon until midnight daily through September 12th.