Immigrants Who Made Coney Island Famous

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May 26: Slide Talk by Historian Charles Denson at Coney Island Library

On Thursday, May 26, Coney Island History Project director Charles Denson will give a slide talk called "Immigrants Who Made Coney Island Famous" at the Coney Island Library, 1901 Mermaid Avenue at West 19th Street. The talk begins at 6:30pm and is free to the public.

"My talk tells the story of several immigrant families who started small in Coney Island and then went on to...

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Featured Oral History Interviews

Cornel Chan

"The Elvis of the East" and founder of Brooklyn Chinese-American Assn. Chorus

Happy New Year 2016!

New Year's Day greetings and Coney Island memories recorded at Deno's Wonder Wheel

Peter Agrapides

Owner of Williams Candy and past owner of Fascination Arcade

Louise Milano

Louise Milano's mother, Carolina, operated Carolina Restaurant on Mermaid Avenue for 60 years

Sal Corona

Coney Island businessman

Jose Beth Smolensky

Juilliard trained musician whose family owned Washington Baths

Hall of Fame

Inventors, performers, impressarios, and community leaders - these are among the many pioneers and visionaries whose creativity and ingenuity helped shape and define Coney Island over the past century. Each year, the Coney Island Hall of Fame pays tribute to a selected group of honorees. Their contributions are highlighted in an exhibit of colorful banners accompanied by illustrated text panels detailing their fascinating lives.

Featured Video

The Childs Building: Coney Island

The mysterious Childs Restaurant Building, with its nautical-themed terra cotta decorations, has fascinated Coney Island visitors for years. Charles Denson 's film illustrates the structure's history and future. The Boardwalk landmark will reopen this summer as the Coney Island...

Ask Mr. Coney Island

Dear Mr. Coney Island...
Hello!  I found your website while looking through some old Coney Island photos. I saw a photo of Tony's Hotel on West 15th Street in Coney Island! It brought back so many memories. I spent the evening looking for a photo of the  Hotel Clement - located on the other side of the same street.   As a kid - during the late 50s and early 60s, I would accompany my grandmother to Coney Island from New Jersey.  She went to Coney Island each year for the beach and for the hot baths. The place for the baths was called Bushman, I think.We stayed each year for two weeks at the Hotel Clement. It was just down the street from Gargiulo's Restaurant and next door to a local Fire House. I didn't find any pictures of West 15th Street - other than Gargiulo's and Tony's Hotel.  Can you direct me to a site where I might find a picture of the Hotel Clement? I'd greatly appreciate it.    
- Anthony

Hello Anthony and Kevin,

Here is a photo of West 15th Street showing the Clement Hotel, Dempsey's Crown Bar, the Firehouse, and Gargiulos. All of these buildings except Gargiulo's Restaurant were demolished several decades ago. The firehouse was demolished on its 100th birthday in 1995. 

Walking Tours

 

"A fascinating, accurate, unexpurgated look at the World's Playground"

Eventbrite - Coney Island History Project Walking Tour - September-October 2014

Take a stroll through Coney Island's amusement district--past, present and future--with the Coney Island History Project. Our unique walking tours are based on History Project Director Charles Denson's award-winning book "Coney Island: Lost and Found," the interviews from CIHP's Oral History Archive, and other primary sources.

Walking tours are led by History Project staff including historian Charles Denson or poet/teaching artist Amanda Deutch, who have over 100 years of family history in Coney Island! All tours begin with a private visit to the History Project's exhibition center under the Wonder Wheel's iconic entrance sign on Denos D. Vourderis Place (West 12th Street), just a few steps off the Boardwalk. The 1-1/2 hour tour includes a talk on the exhibits and objects on display.