Lonely Planet Writer

New Yorkers get ready for a rollercoaster ON TOP of Manhattan's famed Penn Station

It’s an incredibly ambitious project aimed at transforming one of New York’s least-loved landmarks, a plan to build a rollercoaster on top of Manhattan’s Pennsylvania Station.

Proposed new rollercoaster for the roof of Manhattan's Pennsylvania Station.
Proposed new rollercoaster for the roof of Manhattan’s Pennsylvania Station.

The 1200ft tall “vertical urban amusement ride” – The Halo – would tower above the busiest transport hub in North America, housing 12 hi-tech gondolas which would plummet inside a transparent tube from the skyline to almost street level.

The designers behind The Halo believe it could rival the London Eye or even the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a space-age thrill ride wrapped in a giant LED pixel-screen which would light up with images and information about the Big Apple.

“It will be a thrilling way to experience and interact with New York City,” says Ahmed El Husseiny, one of the team of designers working at Halo creators AE Superlabs.

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“We envision the Halo will be the most exciting addition to the New York skyline the city has seen in a generation.”

The design is a response to a call from NY’s city officials for innovative projects to help revitalise the city and especially the area around Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, a district which is seen as being sorely in need of a lift.

The Halo would take 20 months to construct and generate – its designers say – between $25 million and $38 million a year in ticket sales.

The Halo - rooftop rollercoaster planners for New York's Penn Station.
The Halo – rooftop rollercoaster planners for New York’s Penn Station. Image by EA Superlabs

“It will be the biggest and fastest thrill-ride in the word,” says El Husseiny.

“Riders can take in vistas at almost three times the height of the London Eye, or free fall more than twice as far as the next tallest ride of its kind.”

The project will require a massive 17,000 tonnes of high-grade steel and push design and construction techniques to the limit of what is now possible.

Penn Station, New York.
Penn Station, New York. Image by Peter Dutton / CC BY 2.0

But AE Superlabs, who have been involved in the design and construction of over 170 rides around the world, say the technology and safety measures are tried and trusted.

If all goes to plan, the Halo could be taking its first customers for a wild ride (tickets are projected to cost around US$35) by the start of 2019.