Quarantine got you spinning your wheels?
Well, now you can do so in much grander fashion in Golden Gate Park. The SkyStar observation wheel, which has been looming over the Museum Concourse, unmoving, since the beginning of shelter-in-place, is finally open to the public.
The 150 foot tall Ferris wheel is a temporary monument to the park’s 150th anniversary, a celebration that was long postponed by the coronavirus pandemic.
At a ribbon cutting ceremony last night, Mayor London Breed reflected on the importance of parks in the identity of San Francisco. “Our parks stand the test of time,” she said. “Our parks are what create the magic that makes us love San Francisco so much.”
This being San Francisco, and these being COVID-times, the grand opening celebration yesterday evening didn’t go as planned. Due to a longer-than-expected mechanical check, the families of first responders and members of the media (including your disappointed, but still humble, narrator) were not able to go for a ride. San Francisco Rec and Park director Phil Ginsburg assured the assembled that the wheel would be ready for action by Wednesday.
“It’s a beautiful day in San Francisco, and I was looking forward to a scary ride on this observation wheel,” Breed said, echoing the sentiments of those assembled. The view from the wheel’s 150 foot apex is sure to be spectacular — and terrifying.
Reservations are required to ride one of the wheel’s 36 gondolas, so be sure to book in advance. Rides cost $10 and last 12 minutes.
The opening of the SkyStar is just one piece of San Francisco’s accelerated reopening process over the past several weeks, including many recreational activities. Playgrounds throughout the city have begun to reopen, along with museums, zoos, movie theaters and aquariums. Yesterday, the city said non-essential offices could reopen next week, followed by increased capacity for gyms, indoor dining restaurants, and houses of worship the week after that — all thanks to the city’s low COVID-19 transmission rates.
“We have a lot of work to do in San Francisco,” Breed said at the ribbon cutting, “but the thing we also know how to do better than everyone else is celebrate.”