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Old Posted Dec 28, 2006, 1:05 PM
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Brooklyn Papers

Circus may parade into Coney Island

Zaïda (upside down) and Aumor of the Big Apple Circus may soon be showing off their skills in Coney Island.

By Dana Rubinstein

Running away to the circus might soon be as easy as taking the D train to Stillwell Avenue if Coney Island real-estate magnate Joseph Sitt has his way.

The Big Apple Circus has confirmed that it met recently with Sitt’s Thor Equities to discuss incorporating the circus into the $2-billion condo-and-amusement neighborhood Sitt has proposed for the dozen-odd acres of Boardwalk-front property he owns in the neighborhood.

“There was one very preliminary exploratory meeting a couple of months ago,” said Joel Dein, a Big Apple spokesman.

Dein emphasized that a potential relationship with Thor would not undermine Lincoln Center’s status as the circus’s home base.

Thor has also reportedly been talking to Nickelodeon and Disney about collaborating on the beachfront development, although those reports could not be confirmed.

Coney Island insiders this week applauded the idea of the Big Apple on the Boardwalk, saying the circus would fit as nicely into the community as a sword down a freak-show performer’s throat.

“As long as you’re bringing in amusement operators, rather than shopping malls and condos, bring it on!” said Dick Zigun, who runs Coney Island’s legendary Sideshow.

“There traditionally were circuses at Steeplechase, Dreamland and Luna Park,” added Zigun. “The circuses scattered when the amusement parks closed.”

Michael Immerso, the author of the authoritative history of the entertainment community, agreed —though he warned that Coney Island’s entertainment diversity must be preserved.

“One would hope that Thor would also reach out to more cutting-edge local entertainment visionaries,” said Immerso, author of “Coney Island, the People’s Playground.”

“If you [relocate] the same things you could find at Times Square, then you don’t have Coney Island, you just have American pop culture transplanted in Coney Island.”

As The Brooklyn Papers has reported, Sitt has been snapping up land in Coney Island for more than a year. With his purchase of the famed, but dilapidated, Astroland last month, he now owns 13 acres of prime real estate between West 10 and 15th streets on which to build his restaurant, hotel, amusement, condo and retail complex.

Even if Coney Island doesn’t end up with the circus, circus-goers can still get a taste of Coney Island.

This season, the Big Apple Circus is featuring a show called “Amusement Resort by the Sea,” which focuses on Coney Island in the early 20th century and promises “rollicking rides and awesome arcades, the boisterous barker and surprising sideshows.”

Dein called the show’s timing “coincidental.”
NEW YORK heals.

“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer.
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