India’s Human-Powered Ferris Wheel


In India there’s a man for everything – the wallah. The chai-wallah dispenses your tea. The auto-wallahs drive the ubiquitous auto rickshaws. The dhobi-wallah does your laundry. They are India’s indefatigable industrious core and the exact opposite of a jack-of-all-trades.

The mastery with which these wallahs perform their one task is often mesmeric to watch. A chai-wallah mixes his liquid ingredients with a balletic grace, launching a pot full of boiling spiced tea across space precisely into a waiting cup. The auto-wallahs navigate through gaps in traffic with an instinct that borders on precognition. The dhobi-wallah’s metronomic dunking and slapping of shirts and pants could stand in for any band’s rhythm section.

So in a country where electricity can be unreliable, it only makes sense that Indian fun fairs turn to the wallah to keep the good times rolling, as seen in this antique Internet video from four years ago. An Indian fair ride can be a terrifying thing (witness the rusty, squeaking supports), so the impressive acrobatic talents of the Ferris wheel-wallah are all the more admirable – maybe not join-in-the-fun admirable, but certainly regard-from-afar-with nodding-approval admirable.

They say you can reach a meditative state through repetition. Who is to say if that’s the case here, but the white-shirted gentleman certainly appears to be in the zone.

Bluewaters Island Project Brings World’s Largest Ferris Wheel To Dubai

Bluewaters Island

The last time we talked about the “world’s largest Ferris wheel,” it was in reference to New York’s proposal to build the tallest wheel along the waterfront in Staten Island. At 625 feet tall, the New York Wheel promises to carry 1,400 passengers at a time, be taller than the High Roller wheel planned for the Las Vegas strip and 84 feet taller the Singapore flyer. Now, Dubai has thrown its hat in the ring with a wheel even bigger and taller.

At a planned height of just over 688 feet, the Dubai Eye will be the tallest in the world and part of the $1.5 billion Bluewaters Island entertainment project.

To be built in stages starting this April, the Bluewaters development will include a variety of venues to be built over the next two years. Boasting panoramic views of Dubai’s coastline, the man-made island will also include retail, residential and entertainment zones in a continuing effort by the emirate to promote Dubai tourism.

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”The Dubai Eye will serve as yet another iconic structure and will distinctively dominate the Dubai skyline,” said Abdullah Al Habbai, Chairman of Dubai’s Meraas Holding, a Dubai-based development company in a statement. “We are confident ‘Bluewaters’ will develop into a key attraction for the UAE, further enhancing Dubai’s status as the preferred global entertainment and retail hub.”

Bluewaters will feature an open-air marketplace circled by dining venues, connected to the mainland by a Disney-like monorail system. Where did the name “Blue Waters” come from? Check this quick video to see:


[Photo Credit - Dubai Media Office]

Photo of the day – silhouette of London

When I think of London, I often see gray. But not this time. This creative photo from Sarah Landau, a professional touring lighting designer, paints the traditional London skyline a little differently. Featuring the eye, Big Ben, and the Thames, this spooky image is a bit thought-provoking. My thought at this moment: I’d like to visit London again… immediately.

Wish we’d feature one of your photos with Photo of The Day? Upload your stuff to our Gadling Flickr pool.

Skyscraper as theme park: Architect re-imagines thrill rides on a vertical scale

Can you imagine a theme park in the middle of Manhattan? Finding the capital to acquire the land and raise the buildings on it to create the necessary open space would be nearly impossible.

But what if that theme park could be built vertically, as a theme park skyscraper?

Skyscraper theme parkThat’s the idea behind architect Ju-Hyun Kim’s vertical theme park prototypes. Kim says in order to be eco-friendly and save the world from more sprawl, the theme parks of tomorrow need to be built in the middle of cities:

Instead of sprawling parks with giant footprints, stack the park into a skyscraper. The altitude will only add to the speed and excitement of rides, and the view of the surrounding dense urban environment will be incredible. There’ll be so much more to see from the top of the carousel and roller coaster on the perimeter. Best of all, it will be easily reached by public transportation, and the environmental impact will be minimal. Now is the time to build the joyful destination for families’ perfect day out at the center of cities.

Kim’s vertical theme park would be broken into five sections:

  • Vertigo World, which would include a carousel and observation deck at the top of the theme park skyscraper
  • Fast Land, including a flume ride and a rollercoaster
  • 360 World, with a Ferris Wheel and sky promenade
  • Abyss City, a bungee jumping platform
  • Elsewhere Universe, a geodesic dome with a gravity-free zone

Though very different from Kim’s vision, theme-park pioneer Walt Disney also considered building a vertical theme park in a city’s downtown. Fifty years ago, Disney was planning a River Front Square on the banks of the Mississippi in St. Louis. The five-story indoor attraction’s plans are said to have included a walk-through pirate ship, audio-animatronic exhibits and a haunted house.

But the St. Louis plans for a metropolitan Disney theme park were scrapped, and the second Disney theme park — the Magic Kingdom — was built outdoors, horizontally, on part of a sprawling 40-square-mile swampy area now known as Walt Disney World.

You can see all the prototypes from Kim’s vertical theme park proposal at ArchDaily.

London Eye replica proposed for downtown Atlanta

Downtown Atlanta could become home to a 45-story Ferris wheel ride called the “Atlanta Eye.”

The Eye would be a replica of London’s iconic wheel which sits on the south bank of the River Thames between the Hungerford and Westminster bridges.

WXIA-TV in Atlanta reports that an Atlanta law firm is spearheading the project, and that the group met with representatives from Atlanta’s business community this week.

Merlin Entertainment, the owner of the London Eye, is said to be looking at real estate around downtown Atlanta. The Atlanta Eye would be situated near Centennial Park and the Georgia Aquarium.

The Atlanta Eye project is rumored to have a $200 million price tag.

London’s Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, was built in 1999. A 30-minute ride on the wheel, which Merlin calls a “flight,” costs about $29 U.S.

Merlin has expanded the London Eye attraction to include a “4D” movie experience, river cruises and an ice skating rink.

[Image credit: Flickr user David Prior]