3 questions for...Dick D. Zigun

Sideshow founder, Coney devotee, unofficial mayor

Photo: Laure Leber

1. So level with us: What’s it like to spend your days hanging out with sideshow freaks? Freak-tastic?

We’re a dysfunctional family—just like any other group of people who depend upon each other. Everyone has to show up on time and do their job. It’s all about who’s hungover, who’s late, who broke up with their boyfriend, whose relative died, and whether we can pull together and put the show on.

2. Your quest to preserve the historic Grasshorn building, the oldest structure in Coney Island, has been met with nothing but interference from Thor Equities. Joe Sitt: good guy or evildoer?

He’s not as bad as Donald Trump. If you yell and scream loud enough, the guy does listen and he is accessible. So far, what he’s proposed for Coney Island doesn’t “get it.” I do have to give him props, though. He saw me on Miami Ink and called me up the next day.

3. The 1970s were a rough time for Coney Island. What drew you in?

More of the original infrastructure was here, though a lot of it was trashed or burned out. But even more interesting was that there were a number of first-generation Coney Island entrepreneurs, in their eighties, still running their businesses. There’s something about the ocean air that preserves the body while it rots the mind. So there were all these crazy, healthy elderly people...and I thought that was a community I wanted to be a part of.

Dick Zigun’s annual “State of Coney Island Address” is slated for Sun 2 at 4pm at the Coney Island Museum.