Samira Tazari

Samira Tazari is a 2014 graduate of Syracuse University’s SI Newhouse School of Public Communication with a BS in Television-Radio-Film and Russian Language and a 2017 graduate of the Maine College of Art's Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. She recorded interviews for the Coney Island History Project from 2015-2018. For her first oral history, with singer Cornel Chan, Samira selected and added music clips of his recordings to the edited interview. A lover of podcasts, she has worked as a podcast producer for Slate and Spotify and is currently a freelance producer. 

Interviews

Memories of Coney Island in the 1920s and '30s
Born in Harlem, Ida Rosenblum Gambrell, now 94, spent her childhood summers in Coney Island at her aunt's home on Surf Avenue and West 24th Street. Ida recalls her mother giving her and her sister 20 cents to take the train from 103rd Street to 42nd...
Founder and principal of Coney Island's Liberation Diploma Plus High School
April Leong is the award-winning founder and principal of Coney Island's Liberation Diploma Plus High School. The small alternative high school on West 19th Street serves 200 transfer students, many of whom describe it as their home or family. They...
Memories of growing up a block from the ocean and being head of Lincoln High School's Art Squad
Sheila Levrant de Bretteville is a graphic designer, artist and educator who graduated in 1959 from Lincoln High School, where she was mentored by Leon Friend, the much lauded chair of Lincoln's art department. She recalls her work as head of the...
Memories of growing up in Coney Island Houses in the 1980s and '90s
Crystal Isley recalls the excitement of moving to Coney Island Houses from Williamsburg with her family on the day before her fifth birthday. With her bedroom window overlooking the beach and the sounds of the ocean lulling her to sleep, "I felt it...
Memories of going to Coney Island Beach as a child in the 1930's and a teenager in the '40s
Born in 1932, Connie Scacciaferro grew up in Ridgewood and enjoyed outings to Coney Island Beach as a young girl. "Anybody that could carry a shopping bag when we were little, carried a shopping bag on the train to the beach," she says of taking the...
Lifelong stickball player and Coney Island lifeguard for 48 years
Born in 1949, Ron Vernon grew up on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island playing stickball and since his retirement to Florida has played in the Palm Beach County Stickball League, which has eight teams. For him and 120 other guys, it's like being 15...
Harry Delgado, "Stretch," and Larye Mcsheppard share fishing stories
Three fishermen on Coney Island's Steeplechase Pier were interviewed on a sunny day in June. Harry Delgado and "Stretch" live in Coney Island and frequently fish from the pier as well as other local spots. Larye Mcsheppard lives in Queens, and...
Artist and educator who restored the old signs and painted new ones for Paul's Daughter
Brooklyn resident and School of Visual Arts instructor Stephen Gaffney is an artist and sign painter who restored the beloved vintage signs and painted new ones for Paul's Daughter, the oldest operator on the Coney Island Boardwalk. "Some of these...
Composer and lyricist of Luna Park, a musical, on chronicling the partnership of Thompson and Dundy
Lyricist Michael Cooper and composer Hyeyoung Kim met as students at NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and began working collaboratively in 2005. They talk about researching and writing Luna Park, a musical which chronicles the...
Writer, poet and healer who grew up in a Yiddish literary family in Sea Gate during World War II
Deena Metzger is a writer, poet and healer who was born in Brighton Beach in 1936, moved to Sea Gate when she was three, and went to school in Coney Island. "The land, the water, the sea were formative characters in my life," she says. "When I was...