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Boom−A−Ring circus tent rises!

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The Coney Island “Boom-A-Ring” big top rose high over West 21st Street and Surf Avenue in Coney Island this week. The circus performers and animals are expected to follow shortly.

This past Sunday, the traveling circus concluded its last engagement in Texas and began its long trek by truck to Coney Island where it will play shows on Wednesday, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June 18 to September 7.

On Friday morning, an expert team of six men from Mobile Stadiums – one of the world’s premier tent providers – began the arduous task of assembling the garish blue and yellow striped tent and hoisting it high atop six metal towers imbedded deep into the newly-poured asphalt.

A steady rain made the work all that more difficult, but the crew – headed by Colin Enos – persevered, attending to the rigging and sweeping away as much of the heavy rainwater as possible.

“Normally it takes about an hour-and-a-half [to raise], but with all the water on it, it’s making it a little bit harder to pull together,” Enos confessed.

Arriving by boat from Sheffield, England, the tent, seating and other circus paraphernalia reached Coney Island last week in eight massive cargo containers.

The 150-foot by 205-foot big top is actually composed of 12 separate sections of flexible PVC material fashioned in Italy and Germany.

Each section had to be laced together by hand on site in Coney Island. A separate “foyer” tent was also erected.

“There are lots of new technologi­es,” Enos said. “But then it goes back to the way we’ve done it for 200 years – or 2,000 years, probably. This type of tent you can almost do anything in.”

Soon to be packed with animals, aerialists and acrobats, the “Boom-A-Ring” circus tent being utilized in Coney Island this summer has already played host to rock concerts by both Elton John and Iggy Pop.

“I think it’s the coolest thing,” Jim Andacht, vice-president of Circus Operations told this newspaper. “It’s been a really fabulous experience. We took this lot – there was no asphalt. It was full of garbage. We’ve been clearing it and getting it ready. I never thought that I would know so much about asphalt in my life.”

The “Boom-A-Ring” circus is being presented on an undeveloped tract of land sandwiched between the Abe Stark Ice Skating Rink and the old Childs Restaurant building – the same property Taconic Investment Partners hopes to one day build a new complex of largely market-rate housing units.

Forty-five RVs serving the circus’s roughly 100 performers and their families, as well as an area for VIP parking, will be kept on the north side of the lot throughout the circus’ engagement.

The south side of the lot tucked between the ice-skating rink and the boardwalk, meanwhile, has been pegged for the circus’ menagerie of elephants, tigers and zebras.

“We’ve been doing it for so long that it’s really not that difficult,” Andacht said. “Everything that we have is state-of-the-art stuff that we’ve built ourselves for the most part.”

When asked how well the circus animals would fare within the confines of Coney Island’s urban environment, Andacht said the he was confident in the plans organizers have mapped out.

“They’ve been in the business 30 years probably, a lot of these elephants,” Andacht said. “The cats get a little bit more jumpy with the noise.”

The circus veep said he was more concerned about the high-revving monster trucks that might also make an appearance at the circus.

“I think the biggest concern that we have is that we’re bringing monster trucks here,” Andacht said. “When we fire up those, we’re going to be walking the elephants to a different corner.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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