Dueling lawsuits have grounded construction of the New York Wheel for months, putting the latest deadline for opening the world's tallest observation wheel well out of reach. NY1 Staten Island Reporter Amanda Farinacci takes a closer look.
It's a big idea: a 60-story Ferris Wheel overlooking the New York Harbor, attracting millions of visitors a year to Staten Island's North Shore.
But five years and $400 million later, the New York Wheel hasn't gotten off the ground.
Two massive cranes have been carted away, and the-once booming construction site is silent.
"I think it's ridiculous," one woman said. "You have people just anticipating for it to be up already."
When Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the project in 2012, it was supposed to have been completed in three years.
But according to a lawsuit, the contractor almost immediately "fell behind schedule as it struggled to live up to its own hype."
The projected 2015 opening came and went.
With delays mounting and costs soaring, the developers fired the contractor, a company called Mammoet-Starneth, in May.
Some residents, skeptical about the grandiose project, are not surprised.
"This is New York — you're going to always have those kinds of problems," one man said. "Money! That's it, they're not thinking about anything else."
Now, the wheel is indefinitely delayed, wracked by legal claims and counter-charges.
Mammoet-Starneth says the developers "poorly supervised the Project" and failed to properly prepare the site for construction.
The company said if it had tried to proceed, "there was a material risk that its crane and equipment would sink into the ground and/or the ground would give out underneath them, 'squeezing' the subsoil, along with the crane (and possibly the Wheel) out into the New York Harbor."
Both sides, and city officials, refuse to talk.
"One way or another, it's going to get done. When? That's the question."
That's the view of the city Economic Development Corporation, which says it is confident that financial incentives in its contract with the developer will guarantee completion.
But the most recent target date of next spring will be impossible to meet.
The two sides are due back in court later this month. The wheel's developer is hoping a judge will grant an injunction that will compel Mammoet-Starneth to hand over crucial information the developer needs to begin transitioning to its new contractor.
But even if that does happen, there's still no sense how soon work could begin at the construction site again.
Photo above is an artist rendition of the New York Wheel.