Matt Kennedy

Longtime Director of the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce

Matt Kennedy
Interview Date:
September 1 2005



Long the executive secretary of the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce, 100-year-old Matt Kennedy was one of Coney Island's biggest champions. Matt was of Irish, Italian and Russian descent. His grandfather was a Coney Island lighthouse keeper and his grandmother a Russian Jew who left Russia in the 1800s to escape the Czar. She operated the Mammoth Photo Gallery on Surf Avenue at the entrance to Dreamland. Matt used to shoot craps at the Wonder Wheel and was one of few people old enough to remember Dreamland. In this interview he remembers the Crater case (Judge Crater, who vanished mysteriously in 1930, was allegedly killed by a city cop and his cab-driver brother and buried under the boardwalk); famous mobster Abe Reles, who died in a fall from the Half Moon Hotel; and The Standard Union, a 3-cent daily popular in the 20's.

Matt Kennedy passed away on March 22, 2006 at the age of 101.