Tricia Vita

Tricia Vita spent the first 18 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 for the History Project.

Interviews

Growing up in Coney Island and how learning French at Lincoln High School influenced his life
Irwin Temkin shares stories of growing up in the West End of Coney Island in the 1950s and '60s. His family lived on Polar Street, later moved to his grandmother's house on West 31st Street, and finally to an apartment in O'Dwyer Gardens on West...
Filmmaker and archivist whose parents collaborated on the film Little Fugitive in Coney Island
Mary Engel is an award winning filmmaker and runs the Orkin/Engel Film and Photo Archive. She is the daughter of Morris Engel and Ruth Orkin, who co-wrote and directed Little Fugitive, which was filmed in Coney Island and released in 1953. The...
At age 103, Coney Island resident shares her memories and secrets to a long and happy life
Born in 1920, Jeanette Bigelson grew up at 62 Cannon Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan when it was a neighborhood of working-class immigrants. She shares memories of her mother's homemade challah and noodles; friendly neighbors who kept...
Memories of growing up in Coney Island and the family business, Shatzkin's Famous Knishes
Mort Shatzkin’s family owned one of Coney Island’s most beloved eateries, Shatzkin’s Famous Knishes. They operated stores at various locations in Coney Island from the 1940s through the 1970s, and Shatzkin's Coney Island Knishes at Kings Plaza ...
Twenty years at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park's Karaoke on the Boardwalk
Ronald Kannatt, who is affectionately known as "The Prince of Coney Island," has been singing and dancing at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park's Karaoke on the Boardwalk for the past 20 years. His signature song is Prince's "Jungle Love." Kannatt shares...
Architect who is a Coney Island resident and a community activist
Angela Kravtchenko is an architect, a resident of Coney Island, a community activist, and a new member of Community Board 13. She describes how she and her family chose to live in Coney Island after emigrating from Ukraine in the 1990s and living in...
Memories of growing up in Coney Island in the 1940s and '50s and fun summer jobs
Born in 1941, Stuart Waldman grew up in Coney Island on West 32nd Street and Neptune Avenue. He shares memories of school days - PS 188, Mark Twain, Lincoln High School, and Brooklyn College - and vividly describes a series of fun summer jobs he had...
Community Board 13 member and CEO of Apna Brooklyn Community Center
Erum Hanif is a member of Community Board 13 and CEO of Apna Brooklyn Community Center, a not-for-profit social service organization with locations in Brighton Beach and Bath Beach. Apna was founded by Pervez Siddiqui, a local pharmacist and...
Teen memories of Coney Island's Polar Express and Breakdance in the 2000s
As a teenager in the 2000s, Alicia Angello lived in Marlboro Houses in Gravesend, which was walking distance to Coney Island. She shares memories of coming here with her friends every Friday night and sometimes every day in the summer. The Polar...
Mystery artist who carved faces into rocks on the shoreline at Brighton Beach
John Philip Capello is a painter and sculptor who grew up in Bensonhurst in the 1940s and '50s and now lives in Sag Harbor. This oral history is the culmination of the interviewer's 12 year search for the mystery artist who carved faces into rocks...