Couple offering big bucks for return of beloved monkey doll Bongo

The Brooklyn Paper
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Two grief-stricken Manhattanites have frantically papered Park Slope with fliers offering hundreds of dollars for the safe return of their closest companion — a beloved monkey doll named Bongo.

Bonni Marcus and Jack Zinzi said their best friend went missing on Sunday night during a routine outing to their favorite Flatbush Avenue restaurant, El Gran Castillo de Jagua.

The disappearance occurred around 7 pm, as Marcus and Zinzi were walking from their car near Seventh Avenue to the eatery.

“I walked over to the restaurant, sat down, ordered the food, and reached into my pocket to put Bongo on the table — and saw that he was gone,” Zinzi said. “I tore the car apart. I was in a bad way. Bongo really means a lot to me, so I kind of broke down.

“It happened so fast, because I couldn’t have been in the restaurant 10 minutes before I realized he was gone,” Zinzi continued.

“Somebody must have come along and thought he was as cute as I know he is.”

It’s unclear if police have been notified, but any decent gumshoe would have no problem tracking down a missing person with this description: Peach skin, jet-black eyes, perpetual smile stitched on his face, eight inches tall.

The doll has been a constant part of Marcus and Zinzi’s lives for 10 years now. The two adults are devastated enough to offer $500 to anyone who has happened across the wayward Beanie Baby.

The reward appears on fliers posted all over the area, with “Help Me Get Home” hastily written in black Sharpie.

Marcus, 47, and Zinzi, 58, are not in a romantic relationship with each other, but they regard Bongo as the son they never had.

Zinzi, a Park Slope native, bought Bongo at a discount store upstate a decade ago. He doesn’t recall the name, but he can’t forget the moment.

“There was a whole bunch of stuffed animals, and Bongo caught my eye,” he said. “I thought it would be a great gift for Bonni — and we both became a little attached to it.”

Marcus felt the same way.

“Bongo’s simply a member of our family,” said Marcus, who uses the term “mother” when talking about her relationship to the doll. “We take him everywhere, we talk to him.”

Everywhere? Bongo accompanied Marcus to a Hindu hermitage in the Bahamas. And he was there whenever Zinzi, a manager at a Manhattan apartment building, played handball in Coney Island.

The chances of finding this absent primate are slim, but the dynamic doll-doting duo is optimistic. Since Monday, when the fliers went up, two people have called — one Samaritan saying that she placed Bongo on a traffic meter after discovering him lying on Flatbush Avenue, the other mentioning a separate Bongo sighting at the corner of Union Street and Eighth Avenue. In both cases, when Marcus and Zinzi returned to the site, Bongo was gone.

Nonetheless, they remain vigilant.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to get him back,” Zinzi said.

Residents of Park Slope don’t know what to make of the mysterious fliers.

“It must be some kind of joke,” said Maureen Hormaza. But when told that it was not, in fact, a joke, Hormaza’s heart melted.

“It’s very sad and touching,” she said. “Wow.”

Then again, this is New York, where sympathy is doled out with an eyedropper.

“What’s the big deal,” asked Tyrone Williams, who works in the supermarket nearby. “Get another teddy bear!”

Anyone with information is asked to call (917) 224-3049.

Updated 3:16 pm, August 5, 2011: An earlier version of this story had the wrong name of the restaurant where Bongo was lost.
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Reasonable discourse

Ernie from Sea Gate says:
Missing doll stories. So incredibly lame.
Aug. 3, 2011, 8:37 am
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
Check with Casey Anthony; maybe she's seen him.
Aug. 3, 2011, 9:34 am
Bengee from Coney says:
Casey A thinks she spotted Bongo about 30 days ago but she can't remember where sorry.
Aug. 3, 2011, 9:43 am
C Anthony from Orlando says:
I left him with a nanny.
Aug. 3, 2011, 11:03 am
Joe from Brooklyn Heights says:
Talk to the zookeeper maybe he seen him.
Aug. 3, 2011, 12:21 pm
Ken from Greenpoint says:
did somebody say Aaron short?
Aug. 3, 2011, 12:31 pm
bill from journal sq says:
he's for sale on ebay. $2.00 bid
Aug. 3, 2011, 1:12 pm
Matt from Canada says:

I can understand these people might be a little mental and think this thing is something important like a living animal or human...

But come on, this isn't much for news, this is lame....
Aug. 3, 2011, 3:36 pm
Matt from Canada says:
Also reminds me of the time Mr. Burns was reunited with his teddy bear from his childhood.
Aug. 3, 2011, 3:37 pm
kelly from park slope says:
I think this is a great m=neighborhood story, not lame at all! terrific spotlight on the loonies that call park slope their home...
Aug. 3, 2011, 4:08 pm
Tammy says:
the anthony comments are as pathetic as the people making the comments
Aug. 3, 2011, 4:55 pm
Ali says:
Aug. 3, 2011, 6:02 pm
Tom says:
I'm going to hold a candlelight vigil with my G.I. Joes until Bongo is returned safely.
Aug. 3, 2011, 6:36 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Remember when we used to send people like this to the psych ward?

Grow up kids, there are real issues in this world.
Aug. 3, 2011, 8:05 pm
dallas daniel hessler jr from ohio says:
wher is bongo
Aug. 3, 2011, 8:55 pm
Olya from Brighton says:
They may be crazy, but that doesn't mean their feelings aren't hurt. If I lost my pet, I'd be devastated. So, I hope they find their little monkey!
Aug. 3, 2011, 10:37 pm
I took him from Other side of country says:
How about 500 bucks to charity you morons?
Aug. 4, 2011, 12:17 am
Eric from Slopeowanus says:
So they lost Bongo on Sunday night, and then on Monday morning 5th ave was shut down due to a suspicious package at a bus stop containing a "stuffed gorilla" with wires made to look like a bomb. Coincidence?
Aug. 4, 2011, 7:14 am
wtf weirdos says:
Um yea I def. have a stupid Bongo Beanie Baby in a storage bin shoved somewhere at my parents'. I'll give them that crap for $500. Freakin' A LOONY-BIN.
Aug. 4, 2011, 9:27 am
peteyob from Alex says:
Aug. 4, 2011, 9:46 am
Andre says:

Aug. 4, 2011, 11:20 am
Rusty from Hipsters are stupid at any age says:
Only in Park Slope...can we just bulldoze that entire neighborhood?
Aug. 4, 2011, 11:30 am
Harry from Santiago Chile says:
Somebody needs to man up. Time to become adults.
Aug. 4, 2011, 11:30 am
Bob from The mean streets says:
I think these people killed Bongo and this is their clever attempt to avoid suspicion.
Aug. 4, 2011, 11:36 am
Expat NY'er from Texas says:
This is one of the most pathetic things I've ever heard. These are broken people. Just pathetic human beings.
Aug. 4, 2011, 11:37 am
Davey from Queens says:
He left town to go to his B'day party.
Aug. 4, 2011, 11:37 am
Sara from Kansas says:
Who knows? Maybe they're so distraught because the little monkey was filled with coke or diamonds. Whoever has it may find a huge surprise.
Aug. 4, 2011, 12:18 pm
claire from healthily engaged in a world of monkeys says:
im sad for your sake. i have lost several monkeys in similarly traumatic ways. some of them later found and some not. your article makes me think of my lost monkeys. good luck finding bongo
Aug. 4, 2011, 7:05 pm
Bonni Marcus says:
I really miss him you heart is nice
Aug. 4, 2011, 8:30 pm
El from Long Island says:
Bonni, there are people out there just like you! I work 9 to 5, pay my bills, hold down a relationship, live a full ( sane ) life and love my monkeys also....people who joke about your experience do not live in your of luck to you...
Aug. 5, 2011, 10:25 am
John from Williamsburg says:
Is this story subliminal advertising for Rise of the Planet of the Apes that premiered today?
Aug. 5, 2011, 11:28 am
sandra from maryland says:
It is very sad, you can get really attached to your stuffed animals. I can imagine how you must feel, i'd be crazy enough to do the same. I hope you find him soon!!!!
Aug. 5, 2011, 1:28 pm
Cynthia from Clinton Hill says:
How about going to see planet of the apes? Im sure they would feel better.
Aug. 5, 2011, 11:05 pm
Pensandote from Upper West Side says:
Did I sell you this darling monkey? I had a little shoppe in Boerum Hill (Bergen and Smith Streets) from 1998-2001. Bongo was one of my favorites.
Aug. 6, 2011, 9:18 am
Bonni Marcus says:
No, we got him in Binghampton. Thank you everyone that knows what love the others, maybe you think an iphone is important, or an xbox, or a flat screen tv, things that are worthless to me... nonetheless, it is a beautiful thing to respect one another, and our differences, no? I am grateful to those who understand the power of imagination and love.
Aug. 6, 2011, 11:41 am
Bongo from on The Lam says:
Found out I was adopted, so I ran away. F u all, except that Casey Anthony commentator. Casey, you're hot! Bet you've never had a monkey. Let's hook up.

-Cheers, Bongo
Aug. 6, 2011, 5:58 pm
Find Bongo says:
Please help find Bongo! Post your sightings on the official FindBongo Facebook page:

Rumor is that Bongo is being held by the Taliban who are demanding that: 1) the USA pull out of Iraq , and 2) that Rupert Wyatt never be allowed to direct another feature film.
Aug. 6, 2011, 6:41 pm
Cynthia from Clinton Hill says:
bill from journal sq says:
he's for sale on ebay. $2.00 bid @ bill i actually bought this monkey for my kids.
Aug. 7, 2011, 10:54 pm
nameg says:
I understand you both. I have my beloved chimpanzee doll too. Hope you got him back soon.

Keep the faith.
Aug. 9, 2011, 10:31 pm
Andrea from n.c. says:
I have a bongo monkey and imam glad his's back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
Oct. 15, 2011, 7:04 pm
jenn from long island says:
I've had my Bongo for years,he's def 1 of my favorites. He's in excellent condition and is also well traveled. Id give him to the right loving family for $30 bucks contact me on facebook JENNIFER STRAHM.
Sept. 12, 2012, 12:10 pm

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