1940 - 1949

Memories of growing up in the 1940s and '50s in a tight-knit Jewish community in Coney Island
Susan Meyer (a.k.a Dalbir Khalsa) grew up on Sea Breeze Avenue across from Seaside Park, in what she describes as a tight-knit Jewish community of East European origins. She recalls going to Washington Baths and Steeplechase Park every summer with...
Content type: Oral History Item
On growing up in Coney Island in the 1940s and the history of Greek-American businesses in the area
Father Eugene Pappas, the pastor of Southern Brooklyn's Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church for the past 35 years, shares his memories of Coney Island, where he was born in 1940. His family lived at 2812 Stillwell Avenue across from the subway...
Content type: Oral History Item
Daughter of Gargiulo's founder was born in an apartment above Coney Island's famous restaurant
Josephine “Chickie” Cassata is the daughter of the late Louis Gargiulo, founder of Coney Island’s famous Gargiulo's Restaurant on West 15th Street. Chickie was born in an apartment above the restaurant in 1929 and grew up working at the...
Content type: Oral History Item
Former teacher at Mark Twain Junior High School recalls his Coney Island memories
Jeffrey Eisenmesser, 73,  grew up in Bensonhurst in the late 1940s and early '50s.  He taught English Language Arts at Mark Twain I.S. 239 in Coney Island  from 1992 to 2007.  His earliest memories of Coney Island are going to Washington Baths pool ...
Content type: Oral History Item
Son of Coney Island artist, banner painter and Cyclops creator Dan Casola
Wesley Casola shares memories of growing up in Coney Island in the 1950s and '60s. The son of artist Dan Casola (1902-1990), he recalls his father building the Spook-A-Rama Cyclops in their yard and making figures for The World in Wax Musee. His...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up in Coney Island during the Great Depression and 55 years practicing law
Charles Berkman, 88, grew up on West 29th Street in Coney Island during the Great Depression.  The youngest of nine children of a hard-working orphan immigrant from Poland, Berkman recalls peddling fruit, shining shoes, helping concessionaires in...
Content type: Oral History Item
The founder of the Dark Ride Project on documenting Spook-A-Rama and other historic dark rides
Joel Zika is a multimedia artist, a lecturer in Creative Arts at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and the creator of the Dark Ride Project. Using a Virtual Reality 360- degree video camera, his mission is to document the dwindling number...
Content type: Oral History Item
Clothing company CEO George Rudes grew up in the shadow of the Half Moon Hotel
George Rudes lived in Coney Island from 1930 until 1948 when he went off to college. He lived next door to the Half Moon Hotel on West 29th Street. His father, Leo Isaac Rudes, was president of the synagogues on Mermaid Avenue and the one on West...
Content type: Oral History Item
Co-owner and operator of Gregory & Paul's for more than 50 years
Gregory Bitetzakis and his partner, Paul Georgoulakos, have operated a half dozen restaurants in Coney Island for more than half a century. Although they are best known for their two stands on West 8th Street at Surf Avenue and on the Boardwalk,...
Content type: Oral History Item
Charles Robert Feltman, great-grandson of Feltmans Restaurant founder and hot dog inventor Charles Feltman
Charles Robert Feltman, great-grandson of Feltmans Restaurant founder and hot dog inventor Charles Feltman, tells the family history and describes  what Coney Island was like in the 1940s. Founded in the 1870s, Feltmans was once the world's largest...
Content type: Oral History Item