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Ripley's Sideshow Acts Relish Their Odd Jobs for Labor Day

TIMES SQUARE Sideshow performers at Ripley's Believe It or Not! near Times Square swallowed swords, ate needles and hammered nails up their noses Friday to celebrate "Odd Jobs" in light of Labor Day. 

"The hard part is actually getting a job and getting paid for it," said Albert Cadabra, who demonstrated the "Human Blockhead" by pounding a 6-inch iron nail into his right nostril. "We're lucky enough to have Ripley's open up in Times Square and embrace strange and unsual people, such as ourselves, who do strange and unusual things for a living, and pay us to do it." 

Cadabra, 42, of Richmond Hill, said that he dabbled in comedy as a kid and enjoyed being in front of a crowd. He took to the sideshow business soon after, following in the footsteps of what he he called old-school performers.
By his early 20s, Cadabra said he had mastered the Human Blockhead. 
"It took a year not to look like I was in pain," he said of the process of shoving a metal object up his nose.
"I used to do standup, I used to do lot of magic stuff too. But the sideshow is what I really love. And as a kid, when you're into this weird stuff, no one tells you that you can do this for a living." 
Needle-swallower Greg Dubin, 39, of Carroll Gardens, who has been performing at Ripley's for a year as "Dubini," said he has Cadabra to thank for landing a gig in the sideshow industry.

"When he told me he had a full-time job driving a nail into his head, I was like, 'No way! You're living the dream man!'" Dubin said. "I'm indebted to Albert because he and I are friends through performing and he brought me here."

Free performances by Ripley's Sideshow Wonders will contine Saturday and Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. with shows every half hour.