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Jungle love! Bongo, the missing monkey doll, has been found

The Brooklyn Paper
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Bongo has been found!

Two desperate Manhattanites who lost their beloved monkey doll on a trip to a Flatbush Avenue restaurant last week have been reunited with their cuddly companion — and they can thank an eagle-eyed Brooklynite in the concrete jungle.

Park Sloper Luis Barreto spotted Bongo sitting on a parking meter on Flatbush Avenue last Monday, just one day after his “parents,” Bonni Marcus and Jack Zinzi, dropped the doll on a trip to their favorite restaurant, El Gran Castillo de Jagua.

Like Marcus and Zinzi, Barreto was taken with the plushy primate’s charms, so he took Bongo home — completely unaware that Marcus and Zinzi had plastered the neighborhood with fliers offering a $500 reward.

The fliers led to the seminal story on BrooklynPaper.com, which led to dozens of phone and e-mail tips to the grieving parents. One of those tips turned out to be a false lead — but a lead that brought Marcus and Zinzi out to Brooklyn from their Upper East Side apartment, nonetheless.

So when Bongo didn’t materialize, Marcus, 47, and Zinzi, 58, returned to the restaurant, as if on a hunch.

“Jack was a little dejected,” Marcus said, “but I told him, ‘He’s coming home, Jack.’ ”

Near the pernil palace corner of Park Place, the couple spotted Barreto just “shooting the breeze” with a few friends.

“They were laughing, so I thought to ask,” Marcus said. Barreto began to discuss a monkey he had found — one who matched Bongo’s description down to his lopsided eye and misshapen ear — Marcus began to hope, and the three went to Barreto’s apartment.

“As soon as we started walking down the hallway,” Marcus said, “I just knew.”

But Barreto had fallen ‚ hard.

“I didn’t want to give Bongo back, but I didn’t want to break the lady’s heart,” he said.

Ultimately, Barreto, 61-years-old, unemployed, and hobbled with a cane from multiple heart attacks, decided to take the $500 reward, but even as the three shared a few beers to celebrate the miracle, he would continue to pick up Bongo, speaking to him and holding him.

“He just kept taking Bongo out of my hand, and kissing him and playing with him,” Marcus said. “I said to Jack, ‘Maybe this is where Bongo belongs,’ and Jack’s face just went white.”

Zinzi, a building manager who claimed that Bongo’s absence even “affected his work,” was particularly beside himself — regardless of the high-stakes reward.

“You can’t really put a price on it,” he said. “Five hundred dollars is a lot of money to me, but to get Bongo back, it’s not.”

Meanwhile, for Marcus, who is now set on writing a children’s book about the entire ordeal, it was a true storybook finale.

“I couldn’t have thought of a more wonderful ending, of a man who needed the money more,” she said.

It doesn’t take the keen intellect of a Dr. Zaius to know how things might have turned out if it hadn’t have been for one monkey-loving community newspaper.

“The Brooklyn Paper was the one that gave me the confidence to keep going with it, instead of thinking it was just some ridiculous story,” Marcus said.

She also complained that other news sources had mistakenly reported that she and Jack were a couple.

For the record, Jack, Bonni, and Bongo are merely “best friends.”

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Reader Feedback

El Gran Castillo de Jagua fan from Park Slope says:
At least you got the restaurant right this time.
Aug. 9, 2011, 12:34 am
S from PPW says:
This story is a hoax.
Aug. 9, 2011, 7:57 am
marhal from flatbush says:
It's a viral ad for Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Aug. 9, 2011, 8:39 am
O2 from Wburg says:
jus a lil weird
Aug. 9, 2011, 8:46 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Stop the presses!

When you can't report the news, you can always make it up.

I nominate this store for the Jayson Blair Award.
Aug. 9, 2011, 9:17 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Sometimes the Brooklyn Paper is more like The Onion than The Onion.
Aug. 9, 2011, 11:18 am
yuck from martense says:
It's an ad. Notice how the lady got in a line about writing a book about this faux saga???? So lame.
Aug. 9, 2011, 11:47 am
Cynthia from Clinton hill says:
Awww awesome.Well Truly happy it turned out
Well.poor little boy can be happy again.
Aug. 9, 2011, 12:31 pm
K. from ArKady says:
I'll bet you the old man would find your lost Brooklyn Bridge for 5 benjamins as well.
Aug. 9, 2011, 1:02 pm
Friend of Jerry Seinfeld from Park Slope says:
You made a funny story read as unfunny by spending so much space on self-praise.
Aug. 9, 2011, 2:21 pm
E-Man>Master of the UNIVERSE! from Don't try to find me says:
If you're a monkey named Bongo
you should stay in the Congo
The city is no place for you

They'll abuse and mistreat you
some gang thug may beat you
Or worse, you'll end up in a zoo
Aug. 9, 2011, 4:42 pm
Cynthia from Clinton hill says:
Which crackhead is the one that got the reward?
Aug. 9, 2011, 7:08 pm
Ken from Greenpoint says:
this news is a bankruptcy signal!!!!!
Aug. 10, 2011, 12:22 pm
idiots of brooklyn says:
This is something like the stupidist sh*t I've ever read.
Aug. 10, 2011, 4:36 pm
Jim from Clinton Hill says:
i am total surprise people reading this crazy article including my self....
Aug. 10, 2011, 4:41 pm
nancy from coney says:
what are adults doing caring a stuffed animal around in public doesnt any 1 find that odd.and giving a reward 4 its return why not buy another one
Aug. 11, 2011, 8:09 am
Ohoho from West End says:
the woman i work with carries the same type of monkey doll around --- dresses it, takes it on trips, went hysterical when she left it in her mother's car overnight!!! this woman is 42 years old!!!
Aug. 11, 2011, 2:17 pm
Cynthia from Clintion hill says:
Hi Jim from Clinton Hill
Aug. 11, 2011, 6:49 pm
rose from casanova says:
Here's a true story: I was with my visiting niece when I saw this story in the paper. We walked over to the ATM so I could get some money. After I requested my cash, I started reading the story to my niece and telling her the back story. I went to buy some coconut (yes coconut) and went to pay for it when I realized I had forgot to take my cash from the dispenser. I walked over to the machine and of course my money was gone. I asked everyone in the store if they had found cash in the ATM: No. So, Bongo made me lose $120. I don't know if this story was worth the money I lost, but I rather enjoyed following it. Maybe the Brooklyn Paper can recover my $120.
Aug. 14, 2011, 9:20 am
Ivan from Park Slope says:
Hey Jack,
Remember when we used to hang out on Sackett St in Park Slope, Well you still owe me $500.
Aug. 15, 2011, 11:02 pm
Bonni from Manhattan says:
want to get in touch with rose from casanova and help her get her money back...thanks
bonni (from bonni and bongo)
Nov. 18, 2011, 10 am
Bonni from Manhattan says:
It is a true story. Love is love no matter what or who is the object of your affection. Happiness is fleeting and difficult to find. If this little monkey doll makes me happy then that is worth all the money in the world to me. What, I should have spent $500 on an i phone...or TV...or any of the other objects people and society think are worthwhile? Thost things are not important to me.
This was an amazing ending brought about by the power of love and determination. I am forever grateful to the people who saw this story as it is...true, heartfelt, childish and loving. Thank you.
Bonni Marcus
Nov. 18, 2011, 10:05 am

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