2000 - 2009

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
Mermaid Avenue pharmacist dispenses news and advice to new immigrants
Ho Cheung Li's J & R Pharmacy is on Mermaid Avenue at the corner of West 23rd Street in Coney Island. He and his family live upstairs.  Li emigrated from Hong Kong when he was in his 20s and spent more than four years in school to regain his...
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
From Tbilisi, Georgia to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
This  interview was conducted and recorded in Russian. Read Mark Markov's transcript and translation below. Tatyana Panteleyeva is a resident of Bensonhurst who came to the United States in 1994 from Tbilisi, Georgia where she worked as a...
Content type: Oral History Item
Pakistani immigrant and Lincoln High School graduate recounts living on West 15th St
Junaid Anwar recounts times living on West 15th Street in Coney Island, where he moved as a 14-year-old along with his mother and brother to join their father in America. Although a Pakistani immigrant, he quickly adapts to the American way of life ...
Content type: Oral History Item
Osaka-born artist creates sideshow curiosities in his Coney Island home
Born in 1960, Takeshi Yamada is an artist from Osaka, Japan, who moved to Coney Island in 2002. "I didn't choose Coney Island. It chose me," he says. He is frequently seen in a black tuxedo strolling around the neighborhood with his sea rabbit Seara...
Content type: Oral History Item
Coney Island game operator
Cesar came to Coney Island from California and began working for various amusement operators in 1979, running their games and rides and managing their operations. Eventually he struck out on his own with games on Jones Walk and later operated games...
Content type: Oral History Item
Community activist and resident of Coney Island for 50 years
When this interview was recorded in 2007, Ron Stewart had lived in Coney Island for exactly half a century. He has worked as the director of a youth program and a parole officer, owned a local bookstore and barber shop, and is active in the...
Content type: Oral History Item
Lifelong Coney Island resident
Betty has lived on 32nd Street between Mermaid and Neptune Avenues for 37 years. Before that she lived in a bungalow, from which she had to move when it was being torn down in 1963. The apartment building she lived in next was also torn down. She...
Content type: Oral History Item