People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans a noisy protest tomorrow at the Manhattan headquarters of real estate developer Taconic Properties for its plan to bring the “Greatest Show on Earth” to Coney Island.
The demonstration may destroy some much needed PR for Taconic, which in conjunction with New York City, wants to set up a one-ring circus (Coney Island Boom-A-Ring) this summer for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz swung by Nathan’s last week to hand out free tickets for the big show.
Spoiled-sport PETA charges Ringling with animal abuse. Its alert for the protest claims that Ringling shocks and beats its elephants. Coney Island deserves all the help it can get these days. Redevelopment plans for the area have been stalled long enough.
Some say Ringling will destroy the “local flavor” of the faded "People's Playground." The problem with that argument: there is very little local flavor left, especially in the aftermath of the mindless destruction by real estate developers of local favorites (batting cages, race track, miniature golf paradise—where I used to take my kids).
Coney needs the shot of life promised by the circus.
How about a compromise? Throw a circus without the animals. Give `em the summer off. Dumbo and the rest of the gang could use the rest. Let the good times roll with clowns, wire acts, trapeze stuff. That would be win-win-win PR for Taconic, Ringling and the kids who get to see the show.
There's a piece of local flavor not to be missed at Coney. After enjoying the circus, make sure to drop by Coney Island Freak Show’s “Sideshows by the Seashore” extravaganza. Serpentina (snake-charmer), Heather Holliday (sword- swallower/human blockhead) and Donny Vomit (don’t ask?) await.