John Rea revisits Coney with son Jace
We have several new interviews on our website featuring people who have worked in Coney's amusement-related businesses, often from a very young age. Their families made a living here for decades and Coney left an indelible impression on their lives. You can find and listen online to selected interviews in our Oral History Archive
via our searchable database, which is organized by theme, place, period and interviewee.
John Rea, currently an advertising professional and adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts, began his career as a teenage sign painter in Coney Island. He also talks about working for his father in Peluso Machine and Iron Works Shop, which manufactured replacement parts for Coney's rides.
is a longtime operator of Coney's carousels, including the B & B Carousell, and the current operator of the kiddie park on the Bowery. Working in Coney Island is a family business going back generations for Jimmy, who is a great grandson of Steeplechase founder George C.Tilyou. He has also worked in partnership with his daughters to operate traveling rides starting with the SkyWheel in Toronto.
Michael Onorato is the son of James Onorato, who was the general manager of Steeplechase for 36 years. Michael remembers the park in vivid detail and describes growing up there, including a start-to-finish account of going on the Parachute Jump.
Coney Island's Philip's Candy Store has moved to Staten Island, but owner John Dorman
recalls his decades open for business in the Stillwell Avenue terminal. The shop originally opened in 1930 in that location, but Dorman began working there in 1947, when he was 17. He recalls some of the changes he saw over the decades he worked in Coney Island.
During the season and throughout the year, people are invited to record their Coney Island memories for our Oral History Archive. We hope you'll stop by or make an appontment to share your story. You may schedule an interview in advance by emailing email@example.com.