Heartbreaking tale of the Underground Clown

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Move over, Tillie — there’s a new clown in town.

Frank Kozlowsky’s Underground Clown fashion line has earned a dedicated following for its creative graphic logo and heartbreaking story behind the brand.

“One of my friends was murdered in 2001,” explained Kozlowsky, Underground Clown’s founder and owner of Carousel Collision Auto Body Shop at 1902 Neptune Avenue in Coney Island.

Just 23 years of age, Cory Pelzer was shot and killed while riding the B82 bus along Flatlands Avenue in Canarsie. His killer is still at large.

Struggling to deal with his loss, Kozlowsky created a clown face that became popular with customers and realized he’d found a way to pay tribute to Pelzer.

“I’d been looking for something to do for my friend to keep his honor alive,” he explained.

Kozlowsky’s clown offers a wide grin similar to the one on the famous Tillie face that graces many T-shirts sold on the Coney Island boardwalk. However, Underground Clown’s eyes hold a bit of mystery and danger.

“Everyone in Coney Island uses the Steeplechase clown. That doesn’t fit my persona. This clown is a little more me. I made him a little sinister looking, a little more Brooklyn,” Kozlowsky said.

That image is now emblazoned on hats, shirts and dog tags, which can be purchased at

Proceeds are donated to charity, in honor of Pelzer. Funds have been donated to support the fight against breast cancer and juvenile diabetes.

Kozlowsky believes the Underground Clown fashion line and its contributions to charity are a fitting way to keep Pelzer’s memory alive.

“He was such a likeable kid. The second he walked into a room, his presence took over. There is no way I can ever replace that kid,” Kozlowsky said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: