Charles Denson

Charles Denson is executive director of the nonprofit Coney Island History Project, which has created an oral history archive and sponsors educational exhibits, school programs and performances. He is the author of Coney Island: Lost and Found, named 2002 New York Book of the Year by the New York Society Library. Mr. Denson grew up in Coney Island and began documenting his neighborhood as a boy, a passion that continues to this day. A writer, photographer and art director, he began his career in 1971 as a photographer for New York magazine and has since worked as art director for numerous publications. In 1999 he was awarded a Chronicle journalism fellowship at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2013 the New York State Marine Education Association presented the Herman Melville Award to him for his environmental advocacy on behalf of Coney Island Creek.

Interviews

Lived in Coney Island since 1961
Dorothy moved to Coney Island in 1961 from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. She has also lived in Brighton Beach and Ocean Parkway and remembers "the west side" near Seabreeze Park (now known as Asser Levy Park). She...
Biographer of the Mighty Atom
Ed, screenwriter and creator of the 1970's television series "Kung Fu" starring David Carradine, is also the author of "The Mighty Atom: The Life and Times of Joseph L. Greenstein" (The Viking Press, 1979). Ed's family...
Author and key figure in the counterculture of the 1960's shares his Coney Island memories
Legendary Paul Krassner reads an excerpt from his autobiography, "Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counter-Culture" about his experience at Steeplechase Park. Paul Krassner passed away on July 21, 2019 at the...
A lifetime resident of Coney Island
Barbara was born in Coney Island and has lived there are her life. She describes riding the Parachute Jump in the early 60's and remembers other rides and attractions.
Maintained Astroland Park's Astrotower for 25 years
Frank has maintained the Astrotower at Astroland since 1982. In this 2007 interview he describes his job and tells the story of a raccoon in the Tower which became a news story. The park closed at the end of the 2008 season and the Astrotower was...
American carousel designer and artist
Marvin Sylvor, founder of Fabricon Carousel Company, designed more than 60 carousels worldwide. His work can be found in Bolivia, Brazil, New Zealand and Singapore. In this interview, he explains the artistry behind merry-go-rounds and why the B...
Ran penny arcades in Coney Island for over 20 years
Stanley relates a fifty-year history of penny arcades in Coney Island. He and his brother ran a few of them, including Playland, and knew the locations and owners of many others.
Lived in Coney Island until age 11 and is back for the first time in 25 years
Susan, who now lives in Israel, lived in Coney Island from 1955 to 1966 and this is her first visit back in over 25 years. Her parents would save up to come to the amusement park area only once a year and Susan's favorite part was Steeplechase...
Lifelong Coney Island resident
Betty has lived on 32nd Street between Mermaid and Neptune Avenues for 37 years. Before that she lived in a bungalow, from which she had to move when it was being torn down in 1963. The apartment building she lived in next was also torn down. She...
Has lived in Coney Island for 41 years
Marina has lived in Coney Island for 41 years and in same apartment for 32 years. She remembers the many second-hand stores, her first knackwurst at Rosenberg's deli, the truck with the swimming pool for kids at 30th Street, spending the night...