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City Seeks Use for Big Apple Circus Tent it Bought for Nearly $1M

By Katie Honan | June 19, 2017 6:48pm
 The Big Apple Circus tent from a performance at Cunningham Park in Queens in 2015. The tent was bought by the Department of Cultural Affairs in 2011, who are currently looking for a home for it.
The Big Apple Circus tent from a performance at Cunningham Park in Queens in 2015. The tent was bought by the Department of Cultural Affairs in 2011, who are currently looking for a home for it.
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NEW YORK CITY — Calling all circuses: the city has just the tent for you.

The Department of Cultural Affairs is looking for a home for the Big Apple Circus tent, which it purchased for more than $929,000 in 2011, when there were still shows under the big top.

At the time, the agency bought the tent and other equipment for the struggling nonprofit circus so it could still offer shows to the public, a DCLA spokesman said.

While the circus was purchased months ago after filing for bankruptcy last year, the sale excluded city-owned property, leaving the DCLA with the tent and other items.

"At this time, the city is exploring various options for the use of the Big Apple Circus tent and other equipment to ensure that the items continue to be used for a public purpose," spokesman Ryan Max said.

The single-ring tent is currently in storage, awaiting a home.

The Big Apple Circus was founded in 1977 and performed shows around the country, although its home base was in Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park.

At its peak, the circus had more than 350 shows around the country in 2008. But the financial crisis lessened demand for the circus, which was dedicated to accessibility for all, developing programing for blind, deaf and autistic children and offering free or discounted tickets. 

It was bought in February in a bankruptcy sale for $1.3 million and will return to Damrosch Park this fall, its 40th anniversary. 

It's not clear what tent they'll use.