More than 440 oral histories are available for listening in the Coney Island History Project’s online archive. Please listen, share, and if you or someone you know would like to record a story remotely via phone or Zoom, sign up here. We record interviews in English, Russian, Chinese, and other languages with people who have lived or worked in Coney Island and adjacent neighborhoods or have a special connection to these places. Among the additions to our archive in January and February are the following interviews recorded for us by Daniel Gomez, Sage Howard, Xiao Yu Li, Lauren Vespoli, and Tricia Vita.
As a teenager in the 2000s, Alicia Angello lived in Marlboro Houses in Gravesend, which was walking distance to Coney Island. She shares memories of coming here with her friends every Friday night and sometimes every day in the summer. The Polar Express, the Eldorado Bumper Cars, and the Breakdance ride at Astroland were their favorite hangouts to listen to the music and to ride.
"The" Jerry Farley is a record producer and audio engineer who has produced shows in Coney Island at Peggy O'Neill's and now at Coney Island Brewery, where he stages a monthly punk/metal night and other live events. Farley shares memories of Don Fury's Cyclone Studios on Surf Avenue and The Temple, a live music venue for all ages in the basement of a Bensonhurst synagogue.
From the late 1940s to the mid-60s, Jerry Omanoff lived in Coney Island, where his first job was shining shoes on the Boardwalk at age ten. Omanoff shares memories of living in a bungalow, all the blocks being like little towns, and going to the movies at the Surf Theater.
Carol Polcovar is a writer and playwright who grew up on West 30th Street in Coney Island in the 1940s and ‘50s. "The personalities and the environment of Coney Island was really like no other place," says Polcovar, who reads "Fireworks Night," an excerpt from her memoir in progress.
Samantha Robles, a tattoo artist who is known as "Cake," shares childhood memories of growing up in Coney Island's West End and describes her artistic influences. Three generations of Robles' extended family have lived in Coney's "Coconuts Building" since it was built. Both sides of her family moved to Coney Island from Puerto Rico and continue to live here today.
Ansen Tang is Executive Director of the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn (UCAOB) with branches located in Bensonhurt, Dyker Heights, and Sheepshead Bay. His family emigrated from Hong Kong when he was eleven. Tang shares stories of growing up in Bensonhurst, UCAOB's Lion Dance Team and the organization's efforts during the pandemic.
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