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Gene Ritter is a Coney Island native, environmental advocate, commercial diver and educator. He grew up on West 16th Street near Coney Island Creek and got certified as a diver as a 14-year-old. Gene is the founder and president of Cultural Research Divers, an organization that has brought research diving programs to schools and other educational venues since 1990. The organization has been instrumental in many of the positive changes in the Coney Island community, bringing underwater discoveries to thousands of students throughout New York by sharing knowledge of the oceans, estuaries and the area's historic shorelines. In this interview Gene talks about his love of diving, his historic discoveries, and reveals surprising facts about Coney Island history.
Gene Ritter passed away on November 19, 2018 at the age of 59. Read Charles Denson's blog post "In Memoriam: Gene Ritter" here.