On Memorial Day Weekend, lifeguards will once again be perched in their towers and New York City will celebrate the reopening of Coney Island's beach for swimming. Our new podcast episode "Beach Days" has dropped! Listen and subscribe to Coney Island Stories on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Episode 8 shares stories of days at the beach from the 1920s through the 1990s taken from the Coney Island History Project's Oral History Archive.
The stories include childhood memories of family outings, a hidden playground under the boardwalk, a lava hot spot on the sand, the knish man, teenage memories of daring swimsuits, summer jobs renting beach chairs and umbrellas, and working as a lifeguard. Memories span the 1920s, when beach goers were fined as much $5 each - the equivalent of $75 today - for walking on the boardwalk in bathing suits, to the 1990s, when “under the boardwalk” was filled in with sand and a way of life changed forever.
The oral histories in the podcast are with Joseph Albanese, Connie Scacciaferro, Richard Termini, Ron Vernon, Steve Larkin, and Crystal Isley. The interviews were conducted from 2009 to 2019 by Charles Denson, Amanda Deutch, Samira Tazari, and Tricia Vita. This episode was produced by Charles Denson, Ali Lemer and Tricia Vita.
Listen to previous episodes about Coney Island's legendary roller coasters and bathhouses, Mermaid Avenue, and family-owned restaurants and other businesses via your fave podcast app or the podcast page on the Coney Island History Project's website.
Photo credits: Top right, bottom left: Courtesy of Connie Scacciaferro. Bottom right: Coney Island History Project Collection.