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

Outside talker at the World in Wax Musee and lifeguard in the 1950's and 60's
Mark Breyer grew up in Coney Island in the 1950's and 60's. He worked in a variety of jobs, from dry cleaning boy to outside talker at the World in Wax Musee to lifeguard on the beach. In this interview he recalls fetching fish for the...
Coney Island game operator
Cesar came to Coney Island from California and began working for various amusement operators in 1979, running their games and rides and managing their operations. Eventually he struck out on his own with games on Jones Walk and later operated games...
Planner behind the new Stillwell Avenue subway terminal
Tom is the Deputy Chief of Capital Planning at New York City Transit and was involved in the planning, design and engineering of the new Stillwell Avenue terminal, the largest subway terminal in the world. He explains the concept and what some of...
Coney Island singer/songwriter who wrote "Save Coney Island" and "Hot Dog Song"
Amos Wengler moved to Trump Village in Coney Island as a teenager in 1962. Today, he is a professional musician best known for his "Save Coney Island Song," which he has performed outside of City Hall and on Broadway. He first performed...
Grew up in Coney Island in the 1940's
Ralph was born in Coney Island on July 19, 1934, twenty-two years to the day after his mother in the same house. He lovingly describes growing up in Coney Island in remarkable specifics, including stories of local individuals, their diversity, their...
Radio and television personality
"The King of Nostalgia" shares his memories of Coney Island. In 2007, he visited Charles Denson at the Coney Island History Project to record his Coney Island memories, which include doing the first live TV remote in the early 1950s of the...
Summer resident of Sea Gate
Namomi Gorin and her family spent many Sundays in Coney Island as a getaway and an opportunity to spend time with extended family on the beach. She tells stories of her memories of Sea Gate, the beach and rides of Coney Island.
Coney Island concessionaire
Arthur Melnick grew up in Coney Island in the middle of the last century. Here, he recounts his experiences working concession stands in the amusement district during the 1960s, a difficult period for Coney Island. He speaks specifically about rides...
Coney Island resident and member of the 1960's girl group, The Cookies
Margaret Ross moved to Coney Island from North Carolina in the mid 1950s. She became part of the girl group, The Cookies, along with Earl-Jean McCrea and Dorothy Jones. The Cookies recorded songs by Neil Sedaka, as well as songwriting team Carole...
Incubator baby
Roslyn Tromer was one of Dr. Couney's "incubator babies". Dr. Martin A. Couney was a neonatologist during the early part of the 20th century who saved many premature infants through the use of incubators. In order to increase...