Forward: How A Runaway Trapeze Artist-Turned-Surgeon Saved The Big Apple Circus


The circus was founded in 1977, originally as the performing arm of the non-profit New York School for Circus Arts. It was created in the European tradition, with one ring in a small tent, creating an experience of intimacy with the audience.

The circus played to full houses, mainly from a tent in Damrosch Park, part of the Lincoln Center cultural complex on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. But in 2008, the circus was hard hit by the financial crisis, which forced many corporations to withdraw sponsorships. Ultimately, a last-minute fundraising effort failed, and the circus brought down the tent before its 2016-2017 season.

Enter Kahanovitz, 69, whose medical awards include a special commendation from the U.S. House Physician’s Office for multiple procedures performed on congressional representatives and Supreme Court Justices.

He led a group of investors who purchased the circus lock, stock and clown car. Kahanovitz spoke to Curt Schleier for the Forward as the troupe ironed out last-minute details in preparation for the October 20 opening of its new season at Damrosch Park.