Sam Berkley

Writer, oral history interviewer and musician Sam Berkley was born and raised in West Brighton and is a fourth generation Coney Island native. He got his start in Coney Island in 1998, working for Wally Roberts on Jones Walk as a carnival barker. This spawned a lifelong interest in the history of the amusement parks and he recorded oral history interviews for the Coney Island History Project from 2005-2007. Sam is a published author who has written about his family’s roots, gender identity and experiences growing up across the street from the Cyclone in Coney Island. 


Born and raised in Coney and lived there for 18 years
Sam Berkley's 62-year-old father, Larry Berkley, grew up in Coney Island. He describes such things as working the balloon game and the umbrella and beach chair rentals, the three public pools that used to exist and the carefree times as a child...
Worked at the B&B Carousell
Kevin speaks lovingly and sadly of the 49 years he lived in Coney Island, remembering his dear friends and employers at the The Bishoff & Brienstein Carousell (the B&B for short) and regretting what is to become of his home under the new...
Brooklyn College sociology professor
Jerry Krase, professor emeritus at Brooklyn College in sociology, explains how he had a brief brush with the law on the Coney Island Boardwalk in the 1960s.
Co-founder of the Brownstone Revival Coalition
Everett Ortner, 87-year old former magazine editor and co-founder of the Brownstone Revival Coalition in New York City, shares his Coney Island experience as a little boy in 1925. Listen to Everett reminisce about trolley rides to Coney Island and...
Former employee of Astella Development Corporation
Akosva Albritton shares her experiences in Coney Island when she was an employee at Astella Development Corporation in the mid to late 1980s. In this candid interview, Akosva describes Coney's three distinct, racially divided neighborhoods of...
Experiences at the Mermaid Parade
Naomi M, an 11 year old Brooklyn native, shares a story about an experience she had at the Mermaid Parade one year.
Life-long resident of Coney Island
Reginald, a life-long resident of Coney Island, revisits his childhood memories and shares his opinion on the current state of Coney Island's transition. He describes the racial tension that stemmed from fences and walls keeping people of color...
Owner of the Brooklyn newspaper The Phoenix
Dnynia Armstrong, owner of the Phoenix newspaper in Brooklyn, recalls living in a Coney Island cottage during the 1960's. She speaks of gossipy neighbors, eccentric beach people and the condemnation of Coney Island buildings during the Lindsay...
Recollections of summers spent at the Ocean Tide beach club near Sea Gate
Moire Cuite and Elizabeth O'Boyle, two sisters, fondly recount their summers spent at the Ocean Tide bathing club as teenagers in the early 1960's.
Family of former Coney game and ride owner Jack Merr
Linda Merr, wife of former game and ride owner Jack Merr recalls the one and only time she acted in a sideshow alongside Iron Jaw Joe. Michael Merr, son of Jack and Linda, expresses his opinion about the future of Coney Island.