I saw a poster today that said the Ringling Bros. circus is coming to NYC and was wondering when the elephants will be walking through the Midtown Tunnel. Where is a good place watch this?
The last time a bunch of elephants came to midtown, thousands of political activists lined the streets, security forces were on high alert and hundreds of protesters - and more than a few unsuspecting bystanders - were hauled off to a holding pen near the West Side Highway.
Expect a calmer scene on Tuesday, March 22nd when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus parades its elephants through the Midtown Tunnel, across 34th Street to Madison Square Garden. You can expect the pachyderm parade to emerge from the tunnel at around midnight, but bundle up and get there early. With the decision to close the tunnel to vehicular traffic up to the DOT and not Ringling Bros., the elephant walk can begin as early as 11:30 PM or as late as 12:30 AM. (Or as late as 11:30 PM or as early as 12:30 AM, depending on your perspective. Last year's walk began well after midnight.)
A circus rep told Gothamist that the annual tradition was borne more out of necessity than PR: there is simply no other way to get the elephants off of their trains and into the city.
The parade is, of course, free to night owls and kids of all ages who want to stay up past their bedtime, but for tickets and other information about the actual circus, which runs from March 24th through April 10th at MSG, visit the official Ringling Bros. website.
Bluejake has pictures of last year's elephant walk.