1980 - 1989

Working year-round at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park for 30 years
This interview was conducted and recorded in Spanish. Read Leslee Dean's transcript and translation below. Jorge "Chico" Gallegos is a native of Ecuador who lives in Coney Island and has been working at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park since 1986. Having...
Content type: Oral History Item
A family tradition of raising and racing homing pigeons in Coney Island
For Anthony Martire, owner of Larry's Auto Radiator Shop on Neptune Avenue, the pigeon coops on his roof are a family tradition. His father, who was born and raised on 16th Street in Coney Island, began raising and racing homing pigeons in 1947. He...
Content type: Oral History Item
Longtime Coney Island resident and cinematographer for a series of indie films shot here
Martine Emile grew up in Coney Island after moving to Sea Rise apartments with her family in 1984. Her interest in photography was sparked at a young age with the gift of a camera from her father. Photography programs for teens in the community and ...
Content type: Oral History Item
Coney Island resident Georganna Deas has spent forty years advocating for a better Coney Island
Economic development specialist Georganna Deas is a Coney Island resident and advocate who has lived in the Gravesend Houses on Kaiser Park for forty years.  After moving here in 1977, she worked with Coney Island Pride and then with Astella...
Content type: Oral History Item
Louise Milano's mother, Carolina, operated Carolina Restaurant on Mermaid Avenue for 60 years
Founded in 1928, Carolina Restaurant on Mermaid Avenue was a fixture for over 60 years. Carolina, known as Carrie, prepared traditional home style cooking that remains memorable to generations of Coney Island residents. Carrie's daughter Louise and...
Content type: Oral History Item
Twenty years as part of the family at Gregory & Paul's and Paul's Daughter on the Coney Island Boardwalk
Gabriel Valencia has worked on the Coney Island Boardwalk at Gregory & Paul's eatery, now called Paul's Daughter, for 20 years. He came to New York from Puebla, Mexico when he was just 18 to join his brother. Valencia learned English little by...
Content type: Oral History Item
Mermaid Spa founder talks about bringing the Russian banya tradition to Coney Island
This interview was conducted and recorded in Russian. Read Mark Markov's transcript and translation below. A native of Kiev, Boris Kotlyar is one of the owners of Mermaid Spa, a Russian banya on Mermaid Avenue just outside of Sea Gate in Coney...
Content type: Oral History Item
Coney Island homeowner recalls fleeing Vietnam with his family in 1981 and settling in New York City
This interview was conducted and recorded in Cantonese Chinese. Read Audrey Tam's transcript and translation below.  Among the more than 800,000 refugees who fled Vietnam in the years after the fall of Hanoi and safely arrived in another country ...
Content type: Oral History Item
"The Elvis of the East" and founder of Brooklyn Chinese-American Assn. Chorus
Cornel Chan (陳均能) immigrated to the US in 1972 from Hong Kong, where he enjoyed a successful career as “The Elvis of the East” singing American songs on radio, TV and in clubs. With younger singers from abroad gaining popularity and his young sons’...
Content type: Oral History Item
Longtime resident of Coney Island and former President of the Polar Bear Club
Scarcella grew up in Coney Island during the 1950s and 1960s. His father was a beat cop, and he later became a cop and detective in the homicide unit. He moonlighted as a barker for Spookarama and El Dorado and was the President of the Coney Island...
Content type: Oral History Item