2010 - 2019

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
Composer and lyricist of Luna Park, a musical, on chronicling the partnership of Thompson and Dundy
Lyricist Michael Cooper and composer Hyeyoung Kim met as students at NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and began working collaboratively in 2005. They talk about researching and writing Luna Park, a musical which chronicles the...
Content type: Oral History Item
Resident of senior housing in Coney Island was born in Shanghai and survived the Cultural Revolution
This interview was conducted and recorded in Mandarin Chinese. Read Xiaoyan Li's transcript and translation below.  Anthony Wang, a resident of senior housing in Coney Island's West End, was born in 1947 into a wealthy family in Shanghai. When he...
Content type: Oral History Item
Artist whose Coney Island-themed work includes solo and community murals at Coney Art Walls
Brooklyn-born Chris "Daze" Ellis is an internationally known artist who began his career painting subway trains as a high school student and successfully transitioned to canvas in the early 1980s. His series of Coney Island-themed paintings created...
Content type: Oral History Item
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
A nine-year-old artist whose favorite place is Coney Island paints a mural at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park
Lola Glass, whose artistic name is Lola the Illustrator, talks about her new mural at Coney Island's Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. Called "Coney Wonders,"  the mural depicts a snow globe of the Wonder Wheel flanked by two mermaids. The nine-year-old ...
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