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Squealing schoolkids from P.S. 288 and a performing Asian elephant trucked in from Connecticut marked the official start of ticket sales this week for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus’s Boom A Ring in Coney Island.
The big−top extravaganza, the first the Greatest Show on Earth has produced under a tent since 1954, at West 21st Street and the boardwalk from June 18 through Sept. 7.
On Friday, Circus brass and performers including Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson joined local elected officials in front of the 181,000−square−foot lot owned by Taconic Investment Partners that will soon be transformed into a multi−sensory extravaganza.
“Our roots in Brooklyn go back 150 years,” declared Steve Yaros of Feld Entertainment, producers of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. “It was actually in the borough of Brooklyn that P.T. Barnum coined the phrase ‘The Greatest Show on Earth.’”
Opening night festivities on June 18 will include a special “Salute to Coney Island.” All shows will run Thursdays through Sundays and include a pre−event party and tour of the animal menagerie.
Acts include the Urias family, known as The First Family of the Motorcycle Globe, The Negrey Troupe, a world−renowned troupe of Russian acrobats, “Eccentric Personality Extraordinaire” Justin Case, Vincenta Pages and her seven white Bengal tigers and a trio of Asian elephants.
“Oh, my god! Oh, my god!” the kids from West 25th Street squealed as Millie the Asian elephant made her arrival across the sand.
The 32 second− and third−graders under Nadine Brownstein’s care were all invited to the proceedings and hoping against hope to score some free circus tickets.
“Our goal here on Coney Island this summer is to make sure that anyone who walks up onto the boardwalk has the opportunity to see the Greatest Show on Earth,” Yaros promised.
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus has already donated some 10,000 tickets throughout New York and New Jersey and plans on donating thousands more.
In addition, Yaros said that the circus will also be issuing over 100,000 coupons through the borough president’s office, local elected officials and the Coney Island Development Corporation to “make sure that economic expense is not a reason for someone not to see the Greatest Show on Earth.”
“We’ve always said that Coney Island is a circus,” Borough President Marty Markowitz declared. “Now we actually have a circus in Coney Island.”
In all, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus anticipates entertaining and delighting over 250,000 people in Coney Island this summer.
A complete schedule of all of the attractions can be found at www.coneyislandfunguide.com.
“To all those critics, to all those people that said Coney Island is down and Coney Island is not open, and Coney is ruined −− this is the beginning of Coney Island,” City Councilmember Domenic Recchia roared. “This is a new beginning for Coney Island. You are going to see more people here than ever before. We’re going to bring as many children here as possible.”
Addressing P.S. 288’s kids directly, Markowitz said, “We want to make sure that all of you have the same sweet memories of Coney Island that I had when I was your age.”
“Could you ever think you would have a circus right down the block?” Recchia said.
“We will be hiring locally,” Yaros pledged. “Between the ticket consumer that purchases tickets and the 110 cast and crew that will be living here in Coney Island, Feld Entertainment will be pumping over $10 million in the local Coney Island economy this summer.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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