Editor’s note: When we heard that Jay-Z and Beyonce were packing it in for LA recently, we ran a post seeking a new king and queen of Brooklyn. This is clearly a topic that arouses our readers’ passions because, at last count, 1,666 people voted in this vitally important election, which is a very democratic way to choose a monarchy if you think about it. So after weeks of counting chads and paper ballots and weeding out dead people’s votes, we are down to two finalists, the Halkias, the owners of Grand Prospect Hall, and the “couple” (loosely) comprised of King Henry, the Cyclones’ mascot, and the lady on the logo for Gotham Girls, who is not technically human (though the Gotham Girls appear to be). There will be a runoff next month, after all parties have a chance to make their case. The Halkiases had their moment to tell readers why they deserve to be the next king and queen, and the Gotham Girls have spoken as one half of the opponent power-couple. Now, we turn to the Gotham Girls’ co-competitor, King Henry (aka Guy Zoda), to talk about what he could offer the borough as its official reigning monarch. Remember folks, this’ll be our final interview before the ultimate vote takes place—so be prepared to cast your ballot, oh, sometime really soon.
He may go by a royal title, but Brooklyn Cyclones’ King Henry has a lot of humility about this whole competition. “I was just honored [you] put me on the site with the others. The Grand Prospect Hall Couple has been around for years!” Well that may be so, but initial polling showed Henry and his lady of Gotham ahead of the Halkias by a landslide. “That’s why I thought the runoff was a joke at first,” the King confesses. “We were already winning by so many votes!”
Not so fast, we say. If we’re really going to crown a new Brooklyn monarch, we deserve to know more about how they run their kingdom and treat their loyal subjects. Thankfully, when it comes to leadership, the King’s all heart. “I donate to all the street fairs, festivals and a lot of charities,” says Henry, who is also an active member of the Bensonhurst-Bay Ridge Kiwanis Club. His philanthropy has earned him City Council citations, Congress citations and accolades from the NYPD—not to mention recognition for his community access TV show by the Hometown Media Awards, which King Henry affectionately refers to as “the Emmys of public-access television.”
D’aww, but it gets even cuter: King Henry’s original beat was children’s party entertainment (think friendly magician, as opposed to angry clown). So you can breathe easy knowing he’s already got the public-figure part down pat! To this day, he remains one of the most highly-requested personalities in the borough for groups young and old. It wasn’t until the early millennium that Zoda’s royal persona even made its way onto the minor league sports scene. “I just started rallying at Cyclones games in 2003,” he laughs. “And now, I’m full-time! I’m their community outreach director.”
Another reason to cast your vote for King Henry: he knows how to share the throne. “Marty Markowitz was the borough president at the time and they called him ‘the King of Brooklyn.’ But he called me that. So when we’d pass each other on the street we’d yell at each other about it. I’d shout, ‘Hey, King of Brooklyn!’ and he’d shout back, ‘Hey, King of Brooklyn!’ and we’d go back and forth like that for awhile.”
Of course, it’s not Markowitz who’ll stand by Henry’s side if he wins. It’s the Girl of Gotham… or her constituents, anyway. “The Girl of Gotham isn’t even one person, right? It’s just all the girls on the roller derby team.” In addition to joking about the absurdity of their collective candidacy, Henry thinks he might have had more to do with the initial landslide vote than his female counterpart did. “It’s the power of my likeness,” he half-jokes. “I’ve been in Brooklyn for twenty-something years, so I’m well-known.”
So now, let’s talk brass tacks, because what you really want to know is what Henry can offer if crowned. “In one of our season games, the Cyclones can host an official pre-game coronation ceremony. We will also donate 100 bleacher tickets for that evening’s game, which Brokelyn can raffle off. And to show my graciousness as King, I will personally shine the shoes of the first 5 fans who come in that night. See? I can give to the peasants! Although shine-wise, I will have to keep it to black or neutral.”