Builders Propose 1200-Foot-High Free-Fall Ride Atop New York's Penn Station

AE Superlab
AE Superlab / AE Superlab

New York City’s Penn Station is America’s busiest passenger transportation facility—and it’s also one of its most run-down. Last January, the state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced a $3 billion plan to rebuild it. To fund the expensive project, the New York Daily News reports, a development firm called Brooklyn Capital Partners has proposed a thrilling new idea: They want to build a 1200-foot-high free fall tower ride atop Penn Station and charge riders $35 each. Revenue would go toward station repairs, and the ride itself would help transform Penn Station from a dingy railway station into a fun tourist venue.

"You're experiencing New York City in an unforgettable way," said Alexandros Washburn, president of Brooklyn Capital Partners, in a statement. "It's something you will not be able to do anywhere else in the world.

According to a proposal submitted to state officials, the ride—a partially open-air attraction called “The Halo”—would be perched on top of Madison Square Garden, or on the back of the adjacent James A. Farley Post Office Building. It would consist of 11 gondolas, which passengers could individually adjust to their preferred speeds. The gondolas would send them soaring downwards at up to 100 miles per hour, plunging from the building’s roof to the station’s base in six seconds.

Halo would cost around $637 million to build, according to estimates. However, Brooklyn Capital Partners says that the ride could attract as many 7.8 million visitors, and that a ground lease payment plan would generate the state up to $38 million a year. This cash could be used to build a giant new skylight, as well as additional doors at Penn Station’s congested 33rd Street location.

Local reactions toward the project have been mixed, New York 1 reports. Some residents think The Halo would be enjoyable for out-of-town visitors; others say that the ride would make Penn Station even busier. And one individual noted to New York 1 that the plan "seems pretty extravagant, outlandish, but I don't know, it's New York.”

Keep in mind that The Halo is far from a done deal: The ride doesn’t conform to the Request for Proposals for the site, plus Brooklyn Capital Partners is competing with two other developers, Vornado Realty Trust and Related Companies, for the Penn Station renovation project. To get your urban amusement park fix, you might have to end up booking a trip to Dubai. But if you’re curious and want to learn more, you can visit the project’s website for additional details.

Check out a few renderings of the ride below:

All photos courtesy of AE Superlab.

[h/t New York Daily News]