Wonder Wheel

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For other uses, see Wonder Wheel (disambiguation).
Wonder Wheel in 2008
Wonder Wheel at night (2016)

Wonder Wheel is a 45.7-metre (150 ft) tall eccentric Ferris wheel located at Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, US.[1]

Eccentric wheels differ from conventional Ferris wheels in that some of the passenger cars are not fixed directly to the rim of the wheel, but instead slide on rails between the hub and the rim as the wheel rotates.[2]


Wonder Wheel on the New York Aquarium's south wall

The Wonder Wheel was invented by Charles Herman and built between 1918 and 1920 by the Eccentric Ferris Wheel Company. The steel used in the construction of the pleasure wheel is of 100 percent Bethlehem Steel, and was forged on location. The Wheel opened on Memorial Day, 1920.[3] There were 18 original co-owners of the ride.[3]

Herman called it the "Dip-the-Dip" promising to combine in his new invention the thrill of a scenic railway, the fun of a Ferris wheel, and the excitement of the Chute-the-Chutes. An article written about the ride in Science and Invention said the Wheel was a "real thrill like you have probably never had before-at least not at this great height."[3]

Deno D. Vourderis bought the Wonder Wheel on June 7, 1983 from Fred Garms, the son of Charles Herman. The Vourderis family restored the Wheel to perfect condition and made the Wonder Wheel the central attraction of Deno's Whonder Wheel Park.[4]

In 1989 the Wheel was designated as an official New York City landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.[5]

Since it opened over 35 million rides have been given on the Wheel.[5]

Hurricane Sandy[edit]

Near the end of October, 2012 Hurricane Sandy created vast destruction in the North Eastern United States, including in Coney Island.[6] A few days after the hurricane passed through NPR reporter Zoe Chace reported that the Wheel was covered in sand, and she did not expect the Wheel to come back to operation. Several months later she went back to discover that despite not having insurance or receiving assistance from the federal government, things were "shockingly normal."[1]


The Wonder Wheel is 150 feel tall and weighs 200 tons. It has 24 fully enclosed passenger cars, each able to carry 6 people, giving a total capacity of 144 passengers. Sixteen of the cars slide inward on a snaking track, falling outward as the wheel rotates. the remaining 8 cars are fixed to the rim, giving a traditional Ferris Wheel experience to passengers.[7]

Safety and maintenance[edit]

The Wheel has a perfect safety record, due in part to the fact that the original owners were also construction men, insuring during construction the highest standards of quality. Every year the ride is overhauled and painted, to protect it from the harsh weather associated with New York winters.[3]

The only time the wheel stopped while not under the control of the operator was during the New York City blackout of 1977 on July 13, 1977. Wonder Wheel operates on electricity, however, the passengers were not stuck on the wheel, as the owners cranked the wheel around to get them off.[7]


Mickey's Fun Wheel (previously Sun Wheel) is a 48.8-metre (160 ft) tall eccentric Ferris wheel at Disney California Adventure Park.[7] There is also a replica in Dreamland, Yokohama, Japan.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

Coney Island has featured in numerous films, television shows, cartoons, and music videos, some of which show Wonder Wheel.


  1. ^ a b "What Saved Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park?". NPR.org. Retrieved 2016-12-22. 
  2. ^ MEDIA, Tourism Review. "Ferris Wheels: Thrill Ride on Eccentric Wheels". TOURISM REVIEW. Retrieved 2016-12-22. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park :: Coney Island, NY". www.wonderwheel.com. Retrieved 2016-12-22. 
  4. ^ "Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park :: Coney Island, NY". www.wonderwheel.com. Retrieved 2016-12-22. 
  5. ^ a b c "Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park :: Coney Island, NY". www.wonderwheel.com. Retrieved 2016-12-22. 
  6. ^ Library, C. N. N. "Hurricane Sandy Fast Facts - CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2016-12-22. 
  7. ^ a b c Wonder Wheel History

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°34′26″N 73°58′44″W / 40.574°N 73.97891667°W / 40.574; -73.97891667