B’KLYN BIG TOP: CIRCUS TO SUMMER IN CONEY IS.
Coney Island’s gritty amusement district will get a shot of much-needed adrenaline this summer with the arrival of a famous circus and the world’s largest inflatable water slide, The Post has learned. Clowns, jugglers, trapeze artists and other colorful characters from Cole Bros. Circus will dazzle children and adults alike under a 2,000-seat big-top tent to be installed off the boardwalk.
Controversial developer Thor Equities – which ultimately wants to bring a $2 billion Vegas-style, year-round entertainment complex to Coney Island – said the circus is just one of many features the company will bring this summer to fenced-up vacant land it owns on both sides of Stillwell Avenue.
“We’re so excited to be coming to Coney Island – circuses haven’t played there in years, and it’s just the perfect place,” said circus Vice President Renee Storey.
The 123-year-old traveling, three-ring circus will perform two to three times daily at the fabled amusement area from July 30 through Aug. 5 along now-vacant land off Stillwell Avenue.
Also in the lineup is a 40-foot-high by 120-foot-long water slide called “The Hippo,” which will make Coney Island its home from June 23 through Labor Day.
Other events include “Monday Movie Madness,” where people of all ages will be treated free-of-charge to family classics like “E.T” on a giant outdoor screen. The free movies will be offered each Monday from July 9 through Aug. 27, except when the circus performs.
The company says it will reach out to Coney Island’s youth to fill the new jobs created through the temporary uses and has made arrangements to distribute 500 free circus tickets to area children.
Thor officials said they’re trying to keep the amusement district “vibrant” – a tall order considering it has been a difficult transition period for many boardwalk businesses while City Hall grapples over how best to rezone the area.
Thor and the city are at odds over whether the developer should be allowed to include high-rise condos in its planned 10-acre entertainment complex, which would also include a water-park-themed hotel, new retail, a multilevel carousel and a 4,000-foot roller coaster.
This summer season is expected to mark the end of an era with fabled Astroland Park planning to close, so its 3.1 acres of land can be incorporated into Thor’s project.
But Thor CEO Joe Sitt told The Post in April that he might keep Astroland – or some form of it – open next summer if his project continues to be delayed so that Coney Island doesn’t “go dark.” Either way, the landmarked Cyclone roller coaster won’t be affected.