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Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I spent many childhood years in Coney Island between 1953 and 1960. Do you remember, or have any photos of, Tony's Rooming House on West 15th St.between Mermaid Ave. and Surf Ave.? Also, there was a rooming house, also on W. 15th St.,on the same side of the street, closer to Mermaid Ave. The address there was 2922 W. 15th St. For many years it was owned by Abe Fleminger and his family. Unfortunately, these buildings were demolished to make way for a large parking lot for Garguilio's Restaurant across the street. Anyhow, do you remember those two buildings, have any photos, or know any of the long-term residents of those rooming houses? I do recall that my mother's friends lived there -- Dave Altman, Tessie Dundee, as well as other dear friends. Any info or photos would be much appreciated. Awaiting your reply. Many thanks.
- Arlene

Hello Arlene,

Tony's Bright Spot was a beautiful but slightly seedy establishment in a building that dated back to the late 1800s. Tony Oleva operated it until his death, and then it was run by his "nephew." It had quite a reputation. The rooming house was an SRO that also was the last hotel in Coney that catered to tourists. It was painted in bright primary colors and decorated with plaster elves, swans, and whirligigs. There was an arbor and grape vines covering the roof and parking lot. At one time the elevated trolley from Norton's point went right over half the building.

Gargiulo's restaurant bought and demolished the building in the late 70s. We'll get back to you with the other information. Hope this helps.

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Glad to see there are people who still remember Tony's Rooming House in Coney Island. Actually, I am even more interested in the rooming house just next to Tony's, the one a bit closer to Surf Avenue. The address was 2922 W. 15th St. Do you remember that one? It was located just over a billiards or pool hall.
Any information or photo of 2922 would really be appreciated. Also do you remember any names of the residents on that street?
Many thanks.

Rae Fuchs was my great aunt. Her sister was Pearl Wolf then Pearl Robinson--my grandmother. I used to visit Rae and Tante Lena who has brought over Rae and Pearl in 1907.

When I read Charles Densonsbook I wondered if anyone had pictures of Tonys Rooming house. I remember it as a child. My mother knew Tony and I always remembered the brightly colored building. I am glad to see a picture of it. Thank you!!!

I remember Rae Fuchs. I think she was related to Abe Fleminger who owned the rooming house (2922 W. 15th St.) during the 1950s. It could be that when Abe passed away, Rae inherited the house or managed it.
Do you remember Abe Fleminger and his wife, Lena?
Do you remember the pool (billiards) hall just on the first level of the building?
It's too bad that building was demolished in order for the parking lot to be expanded and purchased by Garguilio's restaurant across the street.
Do you remember any of the tenants of that rooming house?
I remember the names of Dave Altman, Lillian Sheridan, Tessie Dundy. They were friends of my mother.
Those were the days!

yes i sure do remember tonys rooming house the other one you are talking about i think was run by a woman named rae fuchs she had a parking lot next to it and would send a little red bucket down for the money for the parking across the street was the fire house the crown bar and the clement hotel and the corn queen elanor ran the corn queen babe avitable had the hotel and mary dempsey had the crown bar now garguilos owns that whole stretch of the block from surf to mermaid and johnny tonys nephew ran the rooming house until the early 80s yep what memorie

Tony's Furnished Rooms at 2922 W. 15th Street, was where I parked my motorcycle's for about 5 years. I had 2 motorcycle's over the years. The agreement was, half a block away I would turn the engine off and coast to the gate, so I did not scare the dogs. I loved the two Doberman Pinschers that were lose in the parking area. They were so well trained, when I came to the gate all I had to say was "Back up" & "Stay".
Twice I saw a car come up to the gate and the man ask me to tell John to bring them into the house, so he could park. He was terrified of them.

My husband's grandmother ran a boarding house in Coney Island for many years. All he can remember is that it was across from a bath house and near the Boardwalk. Her name was Lena Goldstein. Does anyone remember her or might have pictures of her place?

My name is James Powell, Jr (also known as "Little James"), Big James is my father. John Alleva, was my godfather, and that house is where I grew up and spent much time as a little boy playing Castle. I think I may remember the person with the motorcycle, and during the summer we parked cars so people from all over could visit Coney Island and ride the Wonder Wheel. My brother and I would run up and down our huge yard (if you're a kid), and sit on the balcony just over the entrance, watching people come & go from my Coney Island. I myself have no photos, except got those of my Godfather, and only now found the ones posted here. If anyone who ever visited this building, and has any photos, is there any way I can all for a copy of my childhood? I would be forever grateful, as that house holds a drop personal door in my heart. Thank you, and thank everyone who said all those nice things about John & Tony, they are missed. And yes, got the curious, the house held many many secrets. That's all I can say.

James do you have any photos you can share with me he was my grandmothers brother

Question for James Powell....Is the house or building you are referring to Tony's Furnished Rooms? What year(s) did you reside there or near there? I lived at Abe & Lena Fleminger's Rooming House as a child and remember a few tenants who had rooms there. That was way back in the 1950s. I'm wondering if you might remember Dave Altman, Tessie Dundee, Lillian & John Sheridan, and, of course, Abe & Lena Fleminger. But that may be way before your time. Just asking. Thanks. Arlene Amblard

Hi James , Do you have any photos of John Alleva ?
He was my uncle.

Sorry for not having gotten back with anyone, I live in Memphis (TN) now and work for the Tipton County sheriffs Office. To answer many questions at one time, yes I am speaking of "Tony's Furnished Rooms", and yes I have a couple of pictures of John with myself when I was a little boy, and yes I remember Abe & Lena. His sister May was, and I believe her son's name was Albert, he was a lawyer and they lived in Queens. I was born in '71 and left Coney Island in '83.

I am his God children's mother. James W. Powell, Jr. And, John James Abthony Carlos Powell. He was named John James ( John' James Alleva'snamesake) and Anthony Carlos, after John's Godfather, Anthony Carlos Raggazino I believe. From whom John Alleva inherited thr property from. Unfortunately Jojn Alleva passed away in 83 from an unexpected fatal heart attack. My husband, boys and I were his family. We were always going and spending time with him in upstate, Schenectady. Sad yes I have pictures of my boys inside John's kitchen, birthday party on the big yard znd of upstate in Schenectady. There's a few things HD discussed with me before his demise, noy knowing it would come this soon. Unfortunately my husband, James Sr, my two boys and I relocated to Houston in 81-82 and Tony's Furnished Rooms was still standing. I pray to God, that one day, shat he told me is true and if my kids were robbed of what was truely theirs, God will make it come to light. Meanwhile, I can put my head on my pillow and know deep in my heart we Never, Never took advantage of his kindness! I know, many people saw him as a mean grouch. I saw the beautiful human he truly was.
John once predicted to me whst he planned to do at his funeral, since he was not partial to certain family members, and as God is my witness. That's exactly what happened. I PRAY, that after 40 years, whst he told me comes to light. That my sons, his God children, were not robbed of what was truly theirs. I Know, that we Never Never took advantage of his kindness or generosity. I slso know, We can put our heads on our pillows and have a good night sleep. With Faith, the Power of Prayer, support and help, I hope the truth will come to light, after 40 plus years. Thank you all and God bless you ❤️ 🙏🏻

My brother is James who also commented on this. John Alleva was our Godfather, Big James "Cowboy" was our father and John's go-to man for everything and Awilda our mother.
We spent our childhood rummaging through rooms when Dick, John's butler so to speak, had the displeasure of cleaning out the rooms.
Everyone knew John. He used to tell the prostitutes "you dropped your bloomers, honey!" or act like he was selling weed and would yell out "loose joints loose joints here!" whenever the flatfoots were walking their best on 15th. That's when the sand was about 1-1½ stories under the boardwalk, the Island was "LIVE" & the 2 spots to be in order were #1- The Polar Express and #2-The El Dorado!!!!! Back then the Coney Island Cyclone had a few accidents w a couple fatalities resulting from.
We used to play kick the can at night and skelsies during the day.
Breakdancing and (graffiti) writing was clout and every block had it's crew no matter how young (I joined at 4 or 5yo).
John & my pops had the corner store on 16th & Mermaid diagonal from the butcher store ran by the brothers Vinny and I can't remember the other one's name, only that he went left field HARDCORE! The store we had was 'J's Superette" and to the left was Ruso's Pizza!!! Then Marccello's Bakery, then the shoe store and all of these stores had their backdoors in John's backyard/parking lot. As a kid John would send me & James to "collect rent". Later in life I realized it wasn't really rent! John used to let me and James get away with murder! I still miss him to this day, sadly he passed in 83, shortly after we moved to Texas. John is long gone and so was Tony's Furnished Rooms. Gargulio's turned it into a parking lot. My mother's wedding dress, some of our dogs, our toys and our memories have been buried underneath all that asphalt and concrete.
I love you and miss you so much John. I always will. Our times on the balcony across from Gargulio's and everything you have done for me and James and my parents. I'll see you again, whenever it's my time. I think of you fondly especially when I listen to ill Bill's "When I die". RIP, John James Alleva, my Godfather.

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