As Marilyn, Jim, and I headed back to Jones Walk I was still wondering if Jim would get on the Wonder Wheel with me.
To me the Wonder Wheel feels as if it’s always been here, part of my childhood, like the Parachute Jump, the Cyclone, and the Statue of Liberty.
It was built in 1920, is 150 feet tall, and some of the cars slide on rails, almost like a roller coaster, while at the same time swing, for a duel terror experience.
I was oddly sanguine considering I hadn’t been on this ride since I was kid.
So Jim decided to come and we got in one of the non-swinging cars. The car, which is basically a cage, felt very rickety. Then I remembered it was almost 100 years old! It had been painted so many times the doors wouldn’t completely slide shut, but it was too late for second thoughts because we were already rising. That’s when I found out that the “stationary” cars actually sway.
I felt a surprising infusion of fear and vertigo. Really, I didn’t know this would scare me. Fear is unpleasant, but, in this case at least, it was also interesting. It’s why people go on scary rides in the first place.
So there we were, swinging in the wind, rising in a century-old cage that doesn’t close. I wanted to hold on, but I had a camera in one hand and Jim kept shuttling me back and forth on the bench as he frantically took pictures. Turns out he was the fearless one—a side effect, he told me, of being behind a camera.
More thrills next time.
A real-time experience on the Wonder Wheel, filmed and edited by Robb Alvey.
Weird fact—There’s a Rottweiler who lives in his own car on the Wonder Wheel. At least according to this video.