Big Top Coney: Circus Coming to Town
The Big Apple Circus is looking at the Astroland site in Coney Island for possible performances, according to sources close to the issue.
“Thor Equities did approach us with a concept of having the Big Apple Circus in some fashion as part of the complex,” said Big Apple Circus spokesperson Joel Dean.
“It would not be a relocation of the Big Apple Circus. The Big Apple Circus is committed to being at Lincoln Center for the foreseeable future,” he added.
Dean said Thor Equities had contacted the circus some months ago and circus officials met with the company and told them if they had any specifics of a plan they were all ears.
However, they never came back with a plan, he said.
“If Thor Equities came up with the right plan we would certainly be amenable to listening,” Dean said.
Adding fuel to the rumors is that Big Apple Circus founder, artistic director and ringmaster Paul Binder was born and raised in Flatbush.
In the initial days of the circus, which was founded in 1977, it often played in Floyd Bennett Field.
Dean said Lincoln Center continues to be the circus’s premiere engagement and they perform there for two and a half months yearly at Damrosch Park.
The only other place in the city where the circus performs is in Queens, he said.
“When we first started out in 1977 we played where the World Trade Center site was and then played the five boroughs, but as the boroughs became less equitable to play in, we started playing all up and down the East Coast,” said Dean.
Dean said the circus last played in Brooklyn at Prospect Park about 10 years ago.
Thor Equities President and CEO Joe Sitt said, “I don’t comment on any potential tenants.”
However, Thor Equities spokesperson Lee Silberstein said everybody who’s anybody in the entertainment industry business wants to participate in the Coney Island redevelopment.
This includes Disney, SpongeBob and Viacom.
Interestingly, the current Big Apple Circus show is called ‘Step Right Up.’
“It is a celebration of the seaside amusement resorts circa the 1890s and the premier resort of that type was Luna Park in Coney island,” said Dean.
“So a lot of our show and what it is based on is what happened down there,” he added.
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