The Cyclone and Parachute Jump aren’t the only landmarks on Coney Island’s skyline anymore!
On Friday, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey set up shop on the corner of West 21st Street and Surf Avenue, raising its big top for the so-called “Greatest Show on Earth” to open its hotly anticipated “Coney Island Boom A Ring” show on June 18.
The raising of the blue-and-yellow striped tent didn’t go perfectly to plan, owing to the torrential rains on Friday, but workers eventually succeeded, to the cheers of dozens of gawkers.
The real excitement will start next week, when the circus’s one-ring version begins, featuring high-wire acts, the daring crossbow team of Liina and Martti, a motorcycle “Ring of Steel,” and elephants, tigers and clowns (oh my!).
But this show offers more than entertainment in these hard times. A job fair last month attracted 1,000 locals — and 150 or so got hired as ticket-takers, ushers and custodians, said circus spokesman Craig Peters.
And city officials say that Ringling Brothers will pump at least $10 million in to the battered Coney economy.
Of course, this in New York, so, inevitably, there are complaints.
“I work right across the street, and now I got to deal with the lines and people,” said a woman who gave only the name Linda.
“And,” added her friend, Donna, “the animals are going to stink it up.”
The circus is taking the place of a vacant lot this summer.
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s “Coney Island Boom A Ring!” (West 21st Street at Surf Avenue in Coney Island) will run from June 18 through Sept. 7. For info, visit www.ringling.com.
©2009 Community News Group
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