2000 - 2009

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
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
A Coney Island native's memories of running amusement games
Eliot Wofse grew up in Luna Park Houses across the street from the amusement area, which he calls his playground. His elder brothers worked as game agents and regularly sent him off to play, for free, at Steeplechase Park and Playland Arcade. At...
Content type: Oral History Item
Lifelong Coney Island resident and author of Living Life Like It's Golden
Dionne Brown, who has lived in Coney Island all her life, also works here.  She grew up in Surfside Houses and attended Surfside School (PS 329), Bay Academy, Lincoln High School, and Kingsborough Community College.  A love of reading was instilled...
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