1980 - 1989

From breakdancing on the streets of Coney Island with Fresh Kids to Peter Gennaro's Street Dreams
In August 2018, on the occasion of the 35th Anniversary Coney Island Break Dancers Reunion, Alito Hernandez shares memories of learning to breakdance as a young boy in the 1980s and the history of Fresh Kids crew in Coney Island.  "My parents moved...
Content type: Oral History Item
Silvana, Adrianne and Silverio Conte, owners of 51-year-old SAS Italian Records in Bensonhurst
When Ciro Conte founded Bensonhurst's SAS Italian Records in 1967, he named it after his children: Silvana, Adrianne and Silverio Conte. Fifty-one years later, the siblings share vivid memories of growing up in the store, which they still operate...
Content type: Oral History Item
Growing up in the Russian community in Coney Island and Brighton Beach
Born in 1986, Brooklynite Sam Shlivko grew up in the Russian community in Coney Island and has lived here ever since.  His parents met in Brighton Beach after emigrating from Ukraine and Belarus in the late '70s and Russian was his first language. ...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up on Coney Island's first block and working in the Cyclone photobooth's darkroom
Brooklynite Mindy Gress and her family moved to Coney Island when she was 3-1/2 years old and she has lived here ever since.  "I'm living in Coney Island till I die," says the resident of West 5th Street, who describes her street as the first block...
Content type: Oral History Item
Lifelong stickball player and Coney Island lifeguard for 48 years
Born in 1949, Ron Vernon grew up on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island playing stickball and since his retirement to Florida has played in the Palm Beach County Stickball League, which has eight teams. For him and 120 other guys, it's like being 15...
Content type: Oral History Item
Homeowner in Coney Island's West End for almost 30 years and first member of his family to settle here
This interview was conducted and recorded in Cantonese Chinese. Read Sylvia Ching Man Wong's transcript and translation below.  Kai Fung, a homeowner on West 35th Street in Coney Island’s West End, was born in 1956 in Macau and immigrated with his...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up on West 36th Street in Coney Island's West End
Edith Storch, 90, grew up in the West End of Coney Island at 2762 West 36th Street near Canal Avenue. She shares memories of her immigrant parents, shops and street vendors, a nickelodeon on the pier at West 37th Street on the Bay, and Coney Island...
Content type: Oral History Item
Longtime baseball scout for the Chicago Cubs and Sea Gate resident
Billy Blitzer grew up in Brighton Beach, has lived in Sea Gate for the past 36 years, and is a pro scout for the Chicago Cubs.  Baseball has been an integral part of his life since he played Little League at Coney Island's Kaiser Park and with his...
Content type: Oral History Item
Sign-painting legend, musician and Sea Gate resident
Sea Gate resident Sam Moses, 66, is one of Coney Island's finest sign painters. He shares memories of his boyhood apprenticeship at a sign shop in East New York and his dreams of painting in Coney Island.  In 1998, he moved to Sea Gate and started...
Content type: Oral History Item
Grandson of sword swallower Joseph "Ajax" Milana and DeWise Purdin "The Handless Sharpshooter"
Van Milana, 65, was born on Dewey Place in the area of Coney Island called "The Gut" before Trump Village and Warbasse. He shares memories of both of his grandfathers, who were famous sideshow performers in Coney Island. Milana recalls his paternal...
Content type: Oral History Item