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Produced by a bunch of smart, opinionated, dishy, nosy, funny New Yorkers
who love to run around Lower Manhattan eating, going to movies and plays, listening to music, taking pictures, and sharing all the dish

Clowning with the Sick

by Yori Yanover

Our daughter was in for a procedure yesterday, and we were sitting with her in her hospital gown in the waiting room at New York Presbyterian, feeling anxious (the procedure involved full anesthesia) and nervous, as could be expected. Then the door opened and a pair of clowns walked in, boy and girl clowns, from the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit and made us laugh. Really laugh. I know I’m a sucker for clowns and easy magic tricks (here’s the ball – where is it now? Yeah, here it is again), but the kids and their parents were equally easily amused.

The Big Apple Circus Clown Care (SM) hospital clowning program was established in 1986 by Big Apple Circus Co-Founder Michael Christensen. The "Clown Doctors" are specially selected and trained professional performers trained to work in the sensitive hospital environment. Annually more than ninety Clown Doctors make 250,000 one-on-one bedside visits in pediatric services throughout the hospital, including: intensive care units, bone marrow transplant centers, burn treatment centers, pediatric AIDS units, emergency rooms, acute care clinics, physical therapy units and in-patient and out-patient facilities.

There are currently seventeen Big Apple Circus Clown Care (SM) hospital clowning programs operating in cities nationwide. These host hospitals are located across the country in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Miami, New Haven, New York, Seattle and Washington, D.C.


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