Show-stopper: Repairs at Coney Island USA put events on hiatus

Show-stopper: Repairs at Coney Island USA put events on hiatus
File photo by Trey Pentecost

Call it an intermission.

The beloved arts group and performance venue Coney Island USA is currently shut down for renovations, but will return at the end of this month, according to the head of the organization. The property’s Coney Island Museum, the Freak Bar, and the Sideshows by the Seashore theater all closed on Feb. 25 to allow necessary repairs to the ceiling of the antique structure.

“We’re in a 102-year-old landmarked building, and landmarked buildings are not only interesting and historic — sometimes they are pieces of s— that are falling apart,” said Dick Zigun, the neighborhood’s unofficial mayor.

After a chunk of ceiling in the Freak Bar fell down in early July, the venue installed safety nets to prevent a repeat event, and brought in structural engineers to assess the damage, according to Zigun. The work going on now will repair damage from ancient leaks in the roof, and relieve stress on the building from the installation of the heating and air-conditioning system, he said.

Zigun said he is determined to re-open on March 31, with a “Magic at Coney” show at noon and a performance by the Bindlestiff Cavalcade of Youth at 4 pm.

“Regular programming will pick up right when it left off,” said Zigun.

In the meantime, a concert performance of songs from Zigun’s upcoming rock opera “Bloody Brains in a Jukebox” will take place at secret location a few blocks from the venue, on Friday and Saturday nights from March 8 to March 22, with the address revealed to anyone who buys a $5 ticket in advance.

Fans of the seaside amusement spot can lend their support by attending the Coney Island USA Spring Gala on March 23, held at the nearby New York Aquarium. Visitors to the fund-raising event will be able to wander through an exhibit of sharks while nibbling on snacks and sipping on drinks from an open bar. Burlesque legend Dirty Martini will perform at the show, along with strolling magicians, musical acts, stilt walkers, fortune tellers, and much more.

Coney Island USA’s Spring Gala at New York Aquarium [602 Surf Ave. between W. Eighth and W. Fifth streets in Coney Island, (718) 265–3448, www.coneyisland.com]. March 23; 7:30–11:30 pm. $100 ($250 VIP).

Magic at Coney at Coney Island USA (1208 Surf Ave. at W. 12th St. in Coney Island, www.coneyisland.com). March 31 at noon. $10 ($5 kids).

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at broundy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507.