“Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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“I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The Wonder Wheel

I've been saying all summer that I've wanted to capture a time lapse of one of my fondest childhood icons, the Wonder Wheel in Coney Island, Brooklyn.  Growing up, I remember spending many weekends at my uncles house a few blocks from this magnificent pieces of art and having so much fun riding it.  I finally made it out this year during the very last weekend of the season before the Wonder Wheel goes into it's annual repair, maintenance, and hibernation for the winter.

This time lapse is a compilation taken from 3 different viewing angles. As the sun was setting over this amazing structure I wondered why the lights, that I fondly remembered as a child, weren't coming on, only to hear that they normally don't turn them on this late in the season.  Long story short, I managed to sweet talk a few of the operators to turn them on for me, of which I am so very grateful for.

The Wonder Wheel stands out as unique in the history of the modern pleasure wheel. Invented by Charles Hermann and built in 1918-1920 by the Eccentric Ferris Wheel Company using 100% Bethlehem Steel forged right on the premises, the Wheel opened on Memorial Day in 1920.

It was initially called the "Dip-the-Dip" by its inventor, who promised to combine the thrill of a scenic railway, Ferris wheel and Chute-the-Chutes. An article in Science and Invention described the new ride as a "real thrill like you have probably never had before—at least not at this great height!"

Standing 150 feet tall -- the equivalent of a 15-story building -- and weighing 200 tons, the Wonder Wheel has 24 cars, of which 16 are swinging and 8 are stationary. The swinging cars slide on a serpentine track towards the hub of the Wheel, and as the Wheel turns they slide towards the circumference. Each car holds 6 people for a total ride capacity of 144.

The Wonder Wheel has maintained a perfect safety record for its entire history. The 18 original co-owners of the Wheel worked as construction men to insure quality throughout the building process. Each year, the entire 400,000 lb. ride is overhauled and painted to protect it from the elements of weather, wear, and tear. 

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Wonder Wheel

Original Time-Lapse

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."

"I don't much care where –"

"Then it doesn't matter which way you go.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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