An 8th Avenue “supertall” tower containing an amusement park ride has been given the go-ahead by the city’s Department of Buildings — sparking pushback from local residents, who say the busy intersection is no place for a thrill ride. 

Renderings 740 8th Avenue
Plans for 740 8th Avenue include a vertical drop ride in the red column between hotel rooms below and observation decks above. Images: NYC Department of Buildings

Renderings for the large-scale project at 740 8th Avenue (between W45th and W46th Street) were revealed in October. It will feature a 1,067-foot tall, 51-story, 1,000-room hotel tower that includes a sky-high observation deck as well as a 90-second “free drop” indoor amusement park ride that sends patrons 260 feet in the air before plummeting to earth.

New York realty giant Extell Development Group has compared its ride design to that of a Six Flags attraction and projects that the building, designed by architects SLCE and ODA, will open in 2027. Extell purchased the land from fellow Midtown conglomerate Related Companies, which had previously planned a million-square-foot office tower on the site. 

Demolition and construction at 740 8th Avenue is well underway. Photo: Janet Restino

Local advocacy groups and members of Manhattan Community Board 5’s Land Use Committee (MCB5) oppose the project, arguing that the construction noise, congestion and density of an amusement park ride will adversely affect nearby businesses and residential quality of life. Olive Freud of the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development (which has previously battled against large-scale projects at 200 Amsterdam Avenue and saved Lincoln Square’s Damrosch Park from demolition), told Crain’s that Extell was “doing the wrong thing for Manhattan. They’re doing the wrong thing for New York. It’s impossible, and all they can do is bring in more density.”

MCB5 Land Use Chair Layla Law-Gisiko added: “Do I believe that amusement rides are appropriate for Midtown? Honestly, I don’t know. I have no idea. Maybe it’s fantastic. But what I know is that it’s a use that is not permitted.” She pointed out that the precedent set by adding amusement park rides could open the floodgates for similar projects in the area’s potential casinos

Plans Submitted for 740 8th Avenue
Plans submitted for the observation decks and drop ride at 740 8th Avenue. Images: NYC Department of Buildings

Extell says the site’s design complies with current city zoning rules for the Theater District and would be an economic boon to the area. “This building will provide significant economic development benefits to the city of New York,” Extell spokeswoman Anna LaPorte told Crain’s.

Times Square Alliance President Tom Harris agreed. “New York City is constantly finding ways to show New Yorkers and visitors new ways to see this amazing city. Times Square is no stranger to new experiential offerings to entertain the millions of people who visit each year, including RiseNY and the Ferris Wheel in Toys R Us years ago,” Harris told W42ST. “This project is certainly no exception and we look forward to hearing more about it.” 

Rise NY
RISENY is one of the Times Square attractions with a ride concept — albeit indoors. Photo: Phil O’Brien

DOB spokesperson Andrew Rudansky said, “The tower project and accessory amusement attraction complies with zoning,” adding that the city’s Zoning Resolution issued last March determines that because the project lands in the Theater Subdistrict Core of the Special Midtown District, construction may move forward. “Amusement attractions already exist in other midtown high-rise towers, including ‘City Climb’ Edge NYC in Hudson Yards, and ‘The Summit’ at One Vanderbilt,” added Rudansky. “Construction permits for the approved tower were issued earlier this month.” 

But for the project’s closest neighbors, city regulations wouldn’t change significant periods of construction and disruption. Janet Restino, who has lived across the street from 740 8th Avenue for 30 years and has been documenting the building’s construction since it started, said communication between developers and residents about the project has been almost nonexistent. “The first time I heard about the project was reading about it in the newspaper,” said Janet. “I immediately looked them up and left a message, but of course, nobody ever called me back — they just do their thing.” She added that scores of residents have moved out of her building due to the noise. “If you talk to the building’s doorman, they’ll mention ‘Oh, we had someone move in and out in just two months because they couldn’t take the noise.’” 

Longtime residents weren’t the only ones suffering either, said Janet, who added that adjacent businesses like the Playwright Celtic Pub were constantly battered with noise from the construction site. We’ve reached out to the owner of the Playwright Celtic Pub for comment on the situation.

Janet said the W45/W46th Street Block Association was in the process of reaching out to the area’s elected leaders, including City Council Member Erik Bottcher, about the construction site. W42ST has reached out to Council Member Bottcher’s office, where a representative told us they have asked the developer for a briefing.

Playwright Celtic pub 8th Avenue
Three businesses, including Playwright Celtic Pub, are existing on 8th Avenue alongside the construction site. Photo: Phil O’Brien

And while there may be no reversing the amusement ride’s progress, residents argue that the implementation of another mega-hotel is far from necessary for the area. Currently, the 1,331-room ROW Hotel next door on 8th Avenue is closed and being used to house migrants rather than tourists. “As a resident, I don’t see why this needs to be built,” Janet said. “With the area’s foot traffic and pedestrian traffic and cars and buses, it’s already congested — and this will just pour more congestion in. I shudder to think of what kind of accident could happen. This is the most unnecessary thing for New York — we need more housing for people without yachts.” 

Join the Conversation


  1. Wow, I thought I had seen ugly buildings but this takes the cake. I have no problem with rides on buildings, but thrill rides don’t seem like a good fit. Anyone living in the vicinity gets to hear people screaming all day. No thanks. And at least make buildings that look good.

    1. This is a ridiculous idea. To put this in The Famed Broadway Theater District! Imagine Matinee Days! The Streets are crowded Enough and All we need to “ Attract” people to the area is “ Broadway Shows!”

  2. Did Tom Harris have a lapse in memory? The Toys R Us with the Ferris wheel in the premium location in Times Square closed. They even had a T-Rex! Tourism is fueled by Broadway. The number one reason anyone from around the world comes to New York City is to experience the best theater anywhere in the world. We have museums, we have Central Park, we have the Statue of Liberty. But tourists come for Broadway. They come for what we do best. Shall we carve up Central Park and say now we have a New York City Winery, come taste our grapes? I better not give anyone ideas.

  3. What are the city planners thinking ? This is a ridiculous and dreadful proposal. Will Manhattan become a city only for the edification of tourists who come and go because if this continues no sane person will reside here, the constant noise, traffic,bad air will make it imperative to move to retain their sanity and physical health. Furthermore, every inch of green space in the city is gradually being destroyed to make way for another concrete ugly building., this must stop.

    1. What city planners? Developers like Extell do whatever they want wherever they want. And the money Barnett puts in the pockets reserved for “campaign donations” for City Hall and the City Council is apparently enough to keep them quiet. If the community unites quickly and stands up against this monstrosity you might have a chance of doing something about it.

  4. Are those little buildings slated for demolition? It looks to me like we’re seeing sky through the windows at the Playwright Celtic Pub as though the roof is gone and all the windows on the building (Daniela Trattoria) at the far right are boarded over. Hideous design. Hideous planned usage.

    1. James
      Celtic pub took their own roof off several years ago and opened up their top floor. They put a thatched roof along the edges and brought in huge statues on the ground level to decorate the place. I have heard that those three commercial buildings have fought to remain there and Were threatened with eminent domain. Don’t know this for sure, but that is the word that went around.
      The photo is from the 17th floor of the Camelot where I live and the noise drives me crazy!

  5. All other considerations about the wisdom of the project for midtown, I suspect that they meant a 90 foot free-fall drop, not 90 seconds. A free-fall drop of 90 seconds would take riders some 130,000 feet! That’s considerably longer ride than the height of the building, even if they were to land in the hotel lobby!

    1. Thanks Richard. It’s “a 90-second ‘free drop’ indoor amusement park ride”. Love the idea of the math there though! 130,000 feet… wow!

  6. Thanks so much for interviewing me Sarah. I will continue to photograph the construction and thank you Phil for continuing to publish West 42nd !!
    much needed and appreciated!

  7. OMG! Have these people lost their minds? It is all that we as residents can do to convince these real estate companies that PEOPLE LIVE HERE! Notice that they never build their monstrosities where they live. I always said that they think of midtown as an amusement park and now they’re proving it! It is the residents that keep this a place that people will want to visit. Real Estate will turn this into another Atlantic City.

  8. This is insane and dangerous.

    Plus completely corrupt that the City insists on CP because there is too much congestion – and then keeps creating more massive congestion

  9. If they are so set on creating an amusement park in Manhattan – let’s share the pleasure – put it on the upper east side ! Let’s see if the residents and business owners up there enjoy this ! Why is EVERYTHING being shoved into our neighborhood? Casinos, amusement parks, hotels with migrants (yes they are legally seeking asylym – but again – let’s share with other areas). AND congestion pricing ! They really do not care about the residents in this neighborhood.

  10. The New York Times which is always pontificating about the need for affordable housing never bothers to cover the actual loss of affordable housing (tear downs, Airbnb use etc) and evil overdevelopment development all over Manhattan

  11. I’ve been on the one in Coney Island – it was way better than expected! It’s smooooth, not jerky, and you get an amazing view of the ocean and city as it rotates. Don’t knock it until you try it!

  12. I know one thing. I won’t be going to Times Square if and when that building is built. Theater or no theater. My God. What are they doing to our city!

  13. Times Sq Alliance President, Tom Harris, I’d like to know who your Alliance includes? I am a resident of Hell’s Kitchen, and this is in my neighborhood. We do not need amusement park rides to attract tourists, we have Broadway Theater, and fabulous restaurants, and more. Our city is being sold to the highest bidder, and with only tourism as its focus. I love my neighborhood, and do not want it turned into another 6 Flags amusement park!

  14. Surprise! Developers bought off city planners and then hired the worst architects possible to design this eye sore & we get to live with it.
    May all involved rot in hell with the corpse of Robert Moses!

  15. How quickly they forget! When Covid shut everything down, it became very apparent the kind of revenue Broadway brought into the city! Not thrill rides,not hotels. Wasn’t this supposed to be the site of a new theater? And then there are hotels that have not reopened why build a new one? How about re-opening the ones we already have? This just goes to show the laziness of the developers, because I can’t think of anything new. This is such poor planning. I wish for once these developers would come in and actually do a study of the area and how these do bills affect the neighborhood. It’s ridiculous.

  16. Obviously Congestion Pricing is a scam – because the City has done nothing like zoning changes to reduce future congestion and keeps enabling new and outrageous congestion like this horror.

    Clearly there is not a drop of interest in bus transit – MTA, Port Authority commuter and Port Authority long distance.
    Besides all the horrible aspects of this development, it will definitely slow essential transit.

    The corruption by those pushing CP (DOT, MTA, TransAlt) is astonishing.
    Worse than the NRA as the NRA doesn’t pretend to be good.

  17. I lived on this block when it was seedy, dirty & dangerous. Many a tourist got mugged at this location. It is now bustling tourist spot, with all types specialty eateries.. Restaurant Row once a Ghost Town is now a fave destination for residents and tourist alike. The neighborhood came back better than ever due to all the new luxury building that went up amidst protest by local residents. Keep your memories…but don’t stand in the way of progress. New York is and has always been a city of growth & change. If not, it would look no different than Philadelphia or Boston.As a New Yawka I say “we ain’t quaint”

  18. Let us fervently hope that the long established corruption at the DOB will never have the final say on anything. This ‘ride’ is all about $$$$ in the coffers of the developers, who can pay the DOB whatever they demand.
    WE gotta STOP this monstrously stupid idea.

  19. When I first saw the headline for this story I truly thought I was reading The Onion it was so absurd. This is the worst idea ever! DOB is turning NYC into Vegas! Rollercoasters on 8th? Casinos on 11th? I’m not paying enormous amounts taxes to live in the New Las Vegas or New Disney World. The residents of HK do not want this to move forward but clearly, that doesn’t seem to matter much. How about building affordable housing instead? Or, adding a FIRE lane to10th Ave so the many many ambulances and fire trucks blasting their horns day and night can head uptown without getting stuck behind cars coming in from NJ who don’t get out of the way? Congestion and noise is so bad now, this “attraction” will only make living in HK even more unbearable.

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