CONEY ISLAND, N.Y.
Sideshow impresario Dick Zigun wants Coney Island to secede from the United States and become an East Coast haven for expatriates fleeing the nation’s political turmoil. But don’t expect to see the so-called “Mayor of Coney Island” on any ballots in the People’s Republic of Coney Island — Zigun plans to go old-school dictator and use his unilateral power to keep out riff raff from the likes of the Midwest and Queens, he said.
“I’d be the unelected emperor — I think I’d have fun with that. And people would have to apply for a visa, of course, and we’d probably do extreme vetting from certain states like Indiana. I would also do extreme vetting of anyone from Queens, like Donald Trump,” said Zigun. “But instead of moving to Paris, like Hemingway or Gertrude Stein, people could just escape to Coney Island — as long as they go through the proper channels.”
Emperor Zigun would re-dig the moat that once separated the island from the mainland. Failing that, he’ll take a page out of The Donald’s book and build a wall along the proposed nation’s northern border, the Belt Parkway, he said.
“Well I need to get my advisors to study it, but we might have to build a partial wall I suppose at the Belt Parkway so people can’t just pull over and make an unauthorized entry into our great country,” His Excellency said.
Either way, “tourists are paying for it,” he said.
If he seizes power, the whole peninsula — everything from the gated community Sea Gate over to Manhattan Beach — will come under his control, according to Great Defender Zigun, who said he already has plans to erect a Lady Liberty-esque statue in the private nabe that overlooks the New York Harbor.
“I don’t want to let Sea Gate go,” His Eminence said. “The original name is Norton’s Point, and that’s where I want to erect a statue of Art Carney for his work in the Honeymooners after his character [Ed] Norton — he’ll be a beacon.”
As for a hospital, the Highest Incarnation of the Revolutionary Comradeship said he’d pass on Coney Island Hospital, and instead find another way to keep his subjects healthy.
It would not be the first time someone tried to secede from New York — 65 percent of Staten Islanders voted to detach from the city’s ample bosom in 1993, but lawmakers put the kibosh on that. Rock Councilman Joe Borelli tried — and failed — to stoke that fire last summer after Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. Queens has twice tried to secede (and at the risk of editorializing, we wish them all the luck in the world on a third attempt).
But Ever-Victorious, Iron-Willed Commander Zigun draws particular inspiration from Key West’s 1982 attempt to cleave itself from Florida and become The Conch Republic — the archipelago’s response to a roadblock that the Feds set up there to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the U.S.
Here in Brooklyn, Islanders are already raring to shake off the shackles of their oppressors and gain their independence, said one local.
“Obviously the rest of the city has just been holding us back,” said long-time Coney Islander Leon Watkins. “Coney Island has more than enough pizazz and know-how to be its own country. Let’s make Coney Island great again.”
Officials at Sea Gate did not return requests for comment.