Circus coming to town! Ratner, Ringling ink deal at Barclays Center

Something like this is coming to the Barclays Center.
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The development of Atlantic Yards has been sometimes compared to a three-ring circus — but now the real thing is coming to Prospect Heights.

The producers of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced on Friday that they had inked a deal to bring one of their productions to the under-construction Barclays Center in March, 2013, about six months after the arena is slated to open near the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.

A spokesman for Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner said that the Ringling Bros. show would be the same “Greatest Show on Earth” mega-production that fills Madison Square Garden, a rival arena, though a spokesman for the circus was not 100 percent sure.

“We have three circuses on tour at the same time and they all have nine to 10 elephants,” said spokeswoman Nicole Quenqua of Feld Entertainment. “It’s not necessarily the same show as MSG.”

That said, Quenqua said the Barclays version would definitely be bigger than the popular one-ring tent show that has prospered for two summers in Coney Island.

And Feld doesn’t only trot out clowns and elephants. The company produces 48 other family friendly shows that will also fill the Barclays Center upon completion, including Disney on Ice, freestyle motorbike racing events such as AMA Arenacross and Nuclear Cowboyz, and the stupendously thrilltastic monster truck demolition event, Monster Jam, which is guaranteed to be the best night of your 8-year-old boy’s life.

But in a statement, Ratner focused on the circus.

“I can’t wait to see circus elephants marching down Flatbush Avenue and into the Barclays Center, where they will entertain ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages,” the developer said. “We look forward to the Barclays Center creating memories that will last a lifetime.” (For the record, Quenqua would not confirm whether the elephants would in fact be marching down Flatbush Avenue.)

Ratner and a veritable circus of public officials broke ground at the basketball arena in March, and since then Forest City has inked deals that will bring 12 big time boxing matches, two professional tennis events, and 25 college basketball and hockey events per year that will likely make the arena a beehive of activity even when the prime tenant, the Brooklyn-bound New Jersey Nets are out of town.

Forest City is still negotiating with major concert promoters, such as Live Nation, to bring the biggest musical acts in the world to Brooklyn — one of Ratner’s core promises when he was allowed to develop the Vanderbilt Yards into an entertainment center.

Construction began in earnest late last month.

Longtime Atlantic Yards foe Councilwoman Tish James (D–Prospect Heights) was unimpressed by the circus announcement, saying that it would only bring “more clowns to the Atlantic Yards-Barclays Center debacle.”

That said, she hopes her constituents will benefit from it.

“I hope they discount tickets for low-income children in Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, and Bedford-Stuyvesant,” said James.

Updated 2:18 pm, December 13, 2010: Includes more context about prior deals.
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Reader Feedback

Mary from Clinton Hill says:
Mr. Ratner, My family loves elephants that is why we don’t go to circuses anymore, once we saw dozens of photos of Ringling’s current employees beating, shocking and jabbing their baby elephants to train them. We realized there’s no family fun to be had at an event that involves abusing and beating these elephants to make them entertain us for a few minutes. The evidences that Ringling Bros uses a bull hook to torture, beat and wound their elephants all the time is overwhelming. My family was shocked and sickened that this kind of abuse still occurs disguised as wholesome family entertainment. Sad day in Brooklyn when Ringling shows up with the elephants. Don't go.
Dec. 11, 2010, 7:40 am
Misty from Flatbush says:
Mary is correct. Before you buy your tickets, you should learn more about how Ringling trains its elephants -- something the public normally doesn't see. Last year, Ringling went on trial in federal court over its treatment of its elephants. I attended much of the trial and heard Ringling executives, trainers and veterinarians admit that they beat their elephants, chain them for long hours, force them to stand in un-climate controlled box cars in their own waste for up to 60 hours at a time and take babies from their mothers years before they should be weaned. You can read the trial transcripts and view all the exhibits at
Dec. 11, 2010, 8:33 am
common sense from bay ridge says:
I agree with the above posters regarding the cruel treatment of animals at the circus. I have no desire to go watch animal abuse, much less pay for it.

As an alternative, have Marty Markowitz dress up in a clown outfit and ride around on a unicycle, singing songs about bike lanes while juggling. As a grand finale, Bloomberg and his DOT Commissar can throw rotten tomatoes at MM from the audience.
Dec. 11, 2010, 11:03 am
common sense from bay ridge says:
After driving down Atlantic or Flatbush Ave. on the way to the arena, the Monster Truck Jam might be a bit anticlimactic.
Dec. 11, 2010, 11:08 am
pete from Windsor Terrace says:

Atlantic Yards: Ugly oversized Dead Spaces

foisted on the people of Brooklyn against our will

at the tax payers expense!
Dec. 12, 2010, 11:57 am
Pher from Prospect Heights says:
You forgot to mention the flying pigs.
Dec. 12, 2010, 8:52 pm
Al from Park Slope says:
Ahhhh, Already stealing shows away from Madison Square Garden, Nassau Colesium and New Jersey...... A win for Brooklynites!!!!
Dec. 13, 2010, 9:17 am
Mike says:
Can't wait to see the mob scene at the Chuck E Cheese in Atlantic Center when the circus comes to town.
Dec. 13, 2010, 10:05 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
I am an overall supporter of Atlantic Yards and this whole arena development coming in, but this is one show I will not be in supportive of going to see nor promoting people to see once it arrives. These elephants belong in the wild, not in some arena being abused for a profit. DISGUSTING!
Dec. 13, 2010, 12:11 pm
Mike from Park Slope says:
Ratner should only be so kind to bring a show like this to his new arena. Its almost like he is promoting animal abuse
Dec. 13, 2010, 12:12 pm
Pat from Bronx says:
All of you who are feeling sorry for the animals, how do you feel about babies killed in the womb?
Feb. 20, 2014, 5:40 pm

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