Disappearing Ferris Wheel from Landry’s Captivates Galveston for Hours

Ballinger News Staff

Visitors to Galveston on Monday afternoon were taken aback as they watched the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier’s Galaxy Wheel gradually vanish, wedge by wedge, over several hours. Many others noticed the dismantling via the Salt Water Recon webcam available on galveston.com.

Landry’s, Inc., the owner and operator of Pleasure Pier, clarified that the removal of the 90-foot Ferris wheel was coincidental and not related to the impending storm in the Gulf of Mexico. On Wednesday afternoon, COO Terry Turney released a statement:

“During a routine daily inspection, we discovered an issue that required repair. The safety of our guests is our top priority. We are currently addressing the repair and expect the Ferris wheel to be operational within the next week.”

Meanwhile, the island is preparing for Potential Tropical Cyclone One, which, if it develops further, will be named Alberto, the first storm of the 2024 Atlantic/Gulf Coast hurricane season. On Monday evening, the Galveston Island Beach Patrol removed all lifeguard stands from the beach. Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, who also serves as the county’s emergency management director, posted a brief “turn around, don’t drown” video on X Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service has issued a Tropical Storm Warning and Small Craft Advisory, both effective through 7 a.m. Thursday. Expected impacts include hazardous beach conditions, gusty coastal winds, dangerous rip currents, and heavy rainfall from Galveston to Port Lavaca.

Despite the evolving forecast that seems less threatening for the island (fingers crossed), locals continue with their daily activities. On social-media platforms like the Completely Galveston public Facebook group, discussions about the disappearing Ferris wheel and the incoming storm dominated the conversation, whether or not they were related. “David Copperfield was in town,” someone joked. Tuesday is also the day local businesses can promote their services, so fishing outfitters, antique stores, and vacation-rental brokers took the opportunity, as did The Guitar Lounge instrument-repair shop. The most animated discussion was about the island’s best souvenir shop, with Murdoch’s leading ahead of Hendley Market, the Naked Mermaid, and the Admiralty.

Further afield, high tides are already impacting Bolivar Peninsula. Members of the Crystal Beach Real Talk Facebook group posted videos, advertised upcoming events, and continued discussing last week’s Jeep Weekend meeting. Webcams around the peninsula show a few people enjoying the beach even as water nearly reaches the dunes. A vacationing family sought advice, with responses split between “move inland” and “get some board games and enjoy the next two days inside.”

On the Galveston subreddit, a user planning a trip to Sea Isle on the island’s far West End asked if it would be better to postpone their first-ever beach trip until later in the week.

“Several of the streets are already flooding,” user Natynat24 responded around 10:45 a.m. “I live in one of the more elevated lots. We rarely see flooding. An hour ago our dock was underwater, and the canal had reached our first stair. You won’t be able to enjoy the beach because the water will likely be into the dunes.

“No reason to travel when there are flood advisories,” Natynat24 continued. “Don’t be the guy who ignored storm warnings in the name of ‘fun.’”

And so it goes. Whatever happens, Galveston has faced storms before. While the island has many newcomers, the collective memory of Hurricane Ike and other previous storms has instilled in residents a high threshold for weather-related anxiety.

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