For the Coney Island History Project's first-ever "on-ride" oral history, interviewer Samira Tazari mixed recordings of her ride on the Bowery's 5D Cinema and an interview with the indie attraction's owner Terry Zheng. Known as "Tommy" to his fellow Coney Island business owners, he was born Cai Feng Zheng (郑才锋) in Fujian, China. After immigrating to Brooklyn at age 15 with his parents, he spent his summers enjoying Coney Island's rides and games.
Zheng started his business here three years ago when he was still in his twenties and has just turned 30. "I want to bring something new that Coney Island doesn't have," says Zheng, who imported the simulation ride from China after observing the popularity of 5D cinemas in Chinese cities. This year, he added snack foods that were new to Coney--Chinese style, flower-shaped cotton candy and frozen yogurt--to his growing enterprise. "There's still a lot of opportunity in Coney Island," he says.
This program is part of the Cultural Immigrant Initiative supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger.