One show is magically bringing Coney Island back to life in the dead of winter.
In a throwback to the era of Harry Houdini and Theodore Hardeen, Sideshows by the Seashore will host a display of escape artistry, mind reading, hypnosis, sleight of hand, and illusions every Sunday until March.
“It goes back to what you would see in Coney Island during its heyday, when there were music halls and movie theaters all down Surf Avenue — and they were open even when the parks were closed,” said master of mysterious ceremonies Gary Dreifus.
Dreifus said he was thrilled for the opportunity to showcase his weird gifts — and those of his friends — during the winter and early Spring, when the People’s Playground is usually a ghost town.
“People are looking for things to do in Coney Island, and the city has said they want Coney Island open,” he said. “We’re the pioneers now. We’re the beacon in Coney Island right now, and that in itself is an honor.”
Unlike a flashy Vegas show, where the audience is kept at stage-length, “Magic at Coney” incorporates every member of the crowd at one point in the performance.
“This is more intimate, the magic happens right in their hands,” said Dreifus. “A lot of people have never seen live magic before, and this lets them connect with the magician in a way you don’t get in a larger show.”
And unlike some of the freaky shenanigans that goes down at the West 12th Street and Surf Avenue venue, Dreifus’s arts are not too dark for kids to enjoy.
“This appeals to the entire family, and there’s nothing that feels better to a performer than being able to entertain a whole family,” Dreifus said.
“Magic at Coney” at Sideshows by the Seashore [1208 Surf Ave., at the corner of West 12th in Coney Island, (718) 372–5159, www.coneyisland.com] Every Sunday at noon. $8 for children, $12 adults.