Tricia Vita

Tricia Vita spent the first 17 years of her life traveling with carnivals, where her first job was picking up darts and replacing busted balloons in her mother's dart game. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she has worked as a writer, translator and book scout in New York. As administrative director of the Coney Island History Project since 2007, she helps plan programming and manage a multilingual oral history project and a free exhibit center. Tricia earned a Certificate in Reminiscence and Life Story from the University of Wisconsin--Superior and creates reminiscence activities at senior centers for the History Project.

Interviews

Memories of growing up in Coney Island in the 1930s and '40s and moving to Luna Park Houses in 1962
Born in 1930 in Coney Island, Frieda Schwelke and her family lived on West 36th, West 29th, and West 32nd Streets.  In February 1962, she moved with her husband and son to Luna Park Houses when it first opened, and lived there through 1970. Schwelke...
Bus driver for 35 years on the B36 route and the shuttle bus inside Sea Gate
Born in 1953, Fred Stern recalls growing up on West 32nd Street in Coney Island, in a house next to Sam's Knishes, and going to the beach and spookhouses in the amusement area. In 1964, his family moved to neighboring Bath Beach, where he still...
Growing up Japanese American in Coney Island in the 1950s and '60s
Roy Omori grew up in the 1950s and '60s in Coney Island where he could see the Parachute Jump from his window and Steeplechase Park was his playground. Omori's Japanese-American parents moved to Coney from California in the 1940s, during World War...
Growing up in Coney Island in the 1970s and being the third generation of his family to live here today
Orlando Mendez moved from Hell’s Kitchen to Coney Island as a toddler and lived with his extended family in a series of apartments on West 16th, West 20th, and West 29th Streets. In 1969, Mendez and his father and brother moved into Carey Gardens, a...
Memories of growing up in Luna Park Houses in the 1960s and 1970s
Alison Cintorrino and her family were original tenants of Luna Park Houses. Born in 1962, she was brought to Luna Park from the hospital as a newborn and lived there for 25 years. Her 86-year-old mother still lives in Luna Park Houses today....
Memories of growing up in Coney Island Houses in the 1950s and early '60s
Alan Kirschenbaum grew up in Coney Island Houses, where he was among the original tenants of Coney’s first superblock high-rise housing project.  "Growing up in Coney Island Houses and in Coney Island was a really wonderful experience" he says. "And...
Sharon Tera's family operated Ethel's Restaurant on the Boardwalk in the 1940s and '50s
Born in 1947, Sharon Tera lived in Coney Island for the first 14 years of her life. Her parents, Ethel and Ise Tera, owned Ethel's Restaurant  on the Boardwalk at West 19th Street. "Between my mother being Jewish and my father Japanese, we had a...
Australian circus historian whose family performed at Coney Island's Luna Park in the early 1900s
Mark St Leon is an Australian circus historian whose family performed in Coney Island at Thompson and Dundy's Luna Park in the early 1900s.  The St Leon troupe of bareback riders, acrobats and tightwire artists who came to the U.S. was led by his...
Memories of growing up in Brighton Beach in the 1950s and '60s
Rena Stutman Rice shares stories of growing up in Brighton Beach in the 1950s and 60s. Born in 1946, she lived on Brightwater Court and later on Ocean Parkway. A clip from her father's home movie of her as a baby appears in the documentary The Boys...
Memories of living in Luna Park Houses in the 1960s and '70s
Arlene Oken Straus shares memories of living in Luna Park Houses as a teen in the 1960s and as a young wife and mother in the 1970s. Her family moved to the Mitchell Lama co-op from the Bronx and was among the original tenants in 1962. The complex...