Neal Kavakos

Memories of Tunnels of Love ride operator John Kavakos

Neal Kavakos
Interview Date:
February 1 2006


Neal recalls his father, John Kavakos, a "street urchin" from Greece who came to Coney Island and built the Tunnels of Love at the Bowery and 12th Street. The attraction consisted of a serene boat ride that took passengers past various elaborate scenes, including a replica of the Vatican. The ride was visited by various luminaries, including Clara Bow, before it was destroyed by a fire in 1937. Neal also recounts other early Coney Island history and memories, including that, in 1890, his father bought the Delavan Hotel at Surf Avenue and 8th Street, that his uncle, Bill Vanech, had a concession in Steeplechase Park, and that at Childs Restaurant one could watch the cook toss pancakes in the window.