Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will have a summer engagement in Coney Island, Mayor Bloomberg announced last week, one month after The Brooklyn Paper first reported the so-called Greatest Show on Earth would be coming to the People’s Playground.
The special production, called the “Coney Island Boom-a-Ring,” will feature acrobats, motorcycle stunts and peanut-munching elephants on a site near the corner of W. 21st Street and Surf Avenue every Thursday through Sunday from June 17 to Sept. 7.
“The circus is coming to town. I’ve always wanted to be able to say that,” said Bloomberg outside of Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand on the corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues.
The mayor said that Ringling Brothers would present “a Norman Rockwell kind of circus,” which could be a wholesome shot of Americana for Coney Island, which last year saw the closing of Astroland theme park.
The announcement came as the Bloomberg Administration seeks approval for its controversial plan to buy land in Coney Island and build a new city-owned park adjacent to privately owned hotels and year-round tourist attractions in the historical amusement area between the Cyclone roller coaster and Keyspan Park. That zone is home to seasonal diversions and vacant lots now. Bloomberg also wants to build thousands of new apartments to the north and west of the funland.
Other interim entertainment is planned for land owned by Joe Sitt, the mayor’s main adversary for control of the future of Coney Island. Sitt owns more than 10 acres in the core amusement area and is wrangling with the city over an appropriate price for his land.
Sitt says he will install dozens of rides and carnival sideshows later this spring on the grounds where Astroland stood, at Surf Avenue and West 10th Street. A flea market with food stalls featuring the popular Latino vendors from Red Hook Park is scheduled for Sitt’s land on Stillwell Avenue.
“Coney Island Boom-a-Ring,” June 17–Sept. 7. Tickets, $10. Visit www.ringling.com for info.