NEW YORK : A 110-feet-high (34 m) Ferris wheel spins in the once bustling heart of Times Square, looking to bring some joy to New York City and help turn the economy around.
For 12 minutes, customers can ride the Times Square Wheel for a bird's eye view of the so-called 'Crossroads of the World' in midtown Manhattan, by the red glass steps over the TKTS booth where discounted Broadway show tickets are sold.
"I don't remember the last time I've been on a Ferris wheel. That was so much fun," said Deborah Johnson after taking a spin.
"It was special to be able to go that high in a Ferris wheel in Times Square. How often do you get that opportunity? Never," said Penelope Bustamante.
Before his ride the Naked Cowboy, a regular attraction himself in Times Square, strummed his guitar and sang, "I'm scared of heights so I'll probably squeal, ahhhh!"
The idea is to bring back the joy of childhood, said Vito Bruno, who thought up the ride and is the founder and chief executive of AM:PM Entertainment Concepts. "It's a feel good thing. It's just the right time. You see people come alive again. New York and this country needs happy right now."
Not all riders were so enthusiastic.
"It wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be. This was eh," said Arlene Schulman. "I thought I could go up to the elevator at one of the hotels and get a better view. Or maybe I'm just a jaded New Yorker."
Tickets range from US$15 to US$35. Rides are free each day for 100 people who get a first or second COVID-19 vaccine shot from Aug. 1 through Sept. 12, when the pop-up attraction ends.
(Reporting by Roselle Chen; Editing by Richard Chang)