2000 - 2009

Sea Gate resident on her girlhood memories of Coney Island and passing them on to her daughter
Currently a resident of Sea Gate, Irene Karas was born in Belgium and grew up in Bensonhurst and on Ocean Parkway. She recalls excursions to Coney Island beach with her family.  As a young girl, Irene would "roam all of the nooks and crannies of...
Content type: Oral History Item
Jazz musician and bandleader of the Afro-Peruvian Sextet has lived in Coney Island for the past decade
Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Gabriel Alegría has lived on Coney Island's Mermaid Avenue since 2007.  The trumpet player, composer,  and bandleader of the Afro-Peruvian Sextet talks about what drew him to Coney Island, Afro-Peruvian jazz music and...
Content type: Oral History Item
Architect who grew up in Coney Island in the 1980s and designed the renovated Ruby's Bar & Grill
Eric Safyan grew up in Coney Island's Brightwater Towers overlooking the Aquarium. His parents were political refugees who emigrated from Odessa in the Ukraine when he was 3-1/2 years old. After graduating from Brooklyn Tech and architecture school...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up on Mermaid Avenue and working games in Coney Island from age twelve
Michael Goldstein,  known as "Looch," worked games in Coney Island for over half a century. He started out in 1954 at age twelve, earning 75 cents an hour, and by his fourth year was a partner in the game. "It was a different era, a different...
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
On growing up in Coney Island and founding the nonprofit Urban Neighborhood Services
Mathylde Frontus grew up in Coney Island as the eldest child of Haitian immigrant parents who instilled a love of learning and community service. In 2004, she founded Urban Neighborhood Services (UNS), a small multi-service agency on Mermaid Avenue...
Content type: Oral History Item
Coney Island singer/songwriter who wrote "A Coney Island Song"
A Coney Island resident for the past 16 years, Paul Sanchez is a singer/songwriter who can be found playing his guitar on the Boardwalk and in Coney venues such as Steeplechase Beer Garden. He plays his signature composition, "A Coney Island Song,"...
Content type: Oral History Item
Jamaican-born artist and Coney Island resident
Courtney King was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and has lived in Coney Island for the past seven years.  An artist since childhood, he began working as a sign painter after training in commercial art and fine art.  He spent 12 years working on an...
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