Space & Innovation

Giant Thrill Ride for Downtown NYC?

Proposal would erect a 1,200-foot drop tower amusement ride atop Penn Station in downtown New York City.

How many times have you gazed over the iconic skyline of New York City and thought to yourself: "What this place needs is world's tallest amusement park ride?"

That may be the plan now that high-powered developers have pitched the idea of putting a giant thrill ride on top of Penn Station.

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The Halo represents an official proposal to add a 1,200-foot vertical-drop thrill ride to the New York skyline. The idea is to erect an iconic urban landmark, similar to the London Eye, that would draw in visitors and generate both publicity and revenue for the city. The thrill ride would be taller than the Empire State Building and feature a transparent Jetsons-style design intended to conjure visions of future sci-fi cityscapes.

The proposal calls for a structure similar to those drop tower rides you see at amusement parks -- only everything would be bigger. Multiple 10-person gondolas would be continuously lifted 1,200 feet in the air, then dropped at speeds of more than 100 mph. Then entire ride would be encased in a ginormous glass cylinder, providing a view of the city and allowing the ride to operate year-round.

According to the Halo website, the ride would be built directly atop NYC's Penn Station, and in fact would be an integral part of the imminent renovation of the transit hub. Future proceeds from the ride could be used to pay for the upgrade, developers say. They estimate the ride would bring in gross revenue of $130 million per year.

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This is no idle threat proposal, either. The company behind The Halo project is headed up by Alexandros Washburn, formerly the chief urban designer of New York City under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The development team insists that, given proper approvals in a timely manner, they can complete the structure in 20 months.

You can get further details, along with some crazy images, over at the official project page.

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