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Which would you rather see this summer in Coney Island? Row upon row of permanently parked yellow school buses? Or Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus’s Illuscination under the Big Top? We thought so…

Today, Ringling’s magical new show starring “thrillusionist” David DaVinci, an aviary of macaws, doves, and free flying parrots, a trio of Italian clowns, and much more will premiere in West Palm Beach. Stay tuned for our upcoming preview of the show. Come summer, Feld Entertainment is expected to bring the Gold Tour #4 to Coney Island after the successful 12-week run of their Coney Island Boom-A-Ring in 2009.

“I was down in Florida for rehearsals of the new Gold Unit last week and I have to tell you – it’s spectacular!” says Steve Yaros, Vice President, Event Marketing & Sales, Northeast Region at Feld Entertainment. Yaros has been working with Taconic Investment Partners to secure the lot at 21st and Surf where Ringling raised its blue and yellow striped tent last summer. ATZ had heard the circus performers were telling friends they’ll be in Coney over the summer. Come visit! When we asked Yaros, he said a deal has yet to be made.

“They are still looking for a place to relocate the buses that are currently there. It would be a shame if yellow buses replace The Greatest Show On Earth on Coney Island this summer,” says Yaros. “But I’m optimistic we will figure out a solution soon. It’s Feld Entertainment’s sincere desire to return to Coney Island in 2010 and continue the summertime tradition we started last year. So please keep your fingers crossed and send us positive vibes.”

“BUS: Coney Island is also a holding zone for every school bus on earth.” August 25, 2008. Photo © gtranbot via flickr

We’re optimistic, too. Last summer’s Coney Island Boom A Ring brought The Greatest Show On Earth back under “The Big Top” for the first time since 1954 and attracted over 160,000 visitors in its first year in Coney Island. The Coney Island community–those of use who live or work here–are of course thrilled to have Ringling return with a new show. The circus folk were great neighbors and partners in helping us publicize the fact that Coney Island is Really Fun and Really Open.

We’re optimistic since Ringling wants to come back and Mayor Bloomberg wants the circus back and the Mayor is known for getting things done. “The City is looking forward to a vibrant summer in Coney Island in 2010, and we hope that the Ringling Brothers Circus will be part of it,” says Libby Langsdorf, assistant vice president for public affairs at New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC).

If ever there was a time to end the school bus parking blight in the People’s Playground, it’s now. There are already too many pix of yellow buses popping up in visitors’ flickr sets of Coney Island. If you think we’re exaggerating, take a look. Visitors wonder why all the school buses on earth are parked there. It’s a surprising thing to see in the heart of Coney Island, so they snap a picture. Memories are made of this. There are actually two bus lots–one on property owned by Thor Equities adjacent to Nathan’s and one further west on Taconic’s property. Let’s exile the buses on Thor’s property while we’re at it and replace them with….rides!

Coney Island School Bus Depot

“I remember Coney Island. Coney Island School Bus Depot in the rain.” May 17, 2009. Photo © Matto Fredriksson/mattogbg via flickr

The unamusing buses have long term leases to park on the empty lots despite the fact that the area was zoned for amusements. The photographers’ captions say it all: A bus station, a school bus graveyard, Coney Island School Bus Depot and School Bus School Bus School Bus School Bus School Bus School Bus. If anyone knows of an empty lot where the throng of school buses can go on permanent vacation from Coney Island, please let us know! Or better yet, let the City know. See you at the circus!

UPDATE April 7, 2010:

Goodbye school buses! Hello Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey! It’s finally official: Feld Entertainment issued a press release today announcing The Coney Island Illuscination. The show will run from June 17 through September 6, 2010.

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August 31, 2010: Snapshots of the Coney Island Illuscination

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August 20, 2009: Q & A with Coney Island Boom A Ring Circus Star Justin Case

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