English

Memories of working at Astroland's Neptune Diving Bells in the summer of 1964
Patrick Phillips recalls the summer of 1964, when he was a college student from Florida spending his summer working at Astroland's Neptune Diving Bells for his father's friend, Robert Coffey.  He describes his job maintaining the complicated...
Content type: Oral History Item
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...
Content type: Oral History Item
Machinist at MTA's Coney Island Overhaul and Repair Shop and oldest active TWU Local 100 member
Frank Gurrera, 94, is a machinist at the MTA's Coney Island Overhaul and Repair Shop. He has worked there for 49 years and is the oldest active member of the Transport Workers Union, TWU Local 100.  "Sometimes they come up with the big parts,...
Content type: Oral History Item
Coney Islander, musician/songwriter in alt-rock band Newborn, lifeguard
Allen James grew up on West 5th Street in Coney Island, which he describes as near the border of Brighton Beach and "the best of both worlds," noting that "it was the perfect place to grow up as a kid in Brooklyn." He still lives in the neighborhood...
Content type: Oral History Item
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...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of a gorilla show, a bungalow colony, and an underground city beside the beach
Coney Island native Robert Whitney has lived here all his life and worked in the amusement area for decades. He recalls doing electrical work starting in the 1980s for amusement operators Norman Kaufman, Ronnie Guerrero, "The Twins," and Jeff Brooks...
Content type: Oral History Item
Retired arcade operator's memories of when Coney Island's amusements were open in the wintertime
On a sunny day in January on the Boardwalk, Stanley Fox, whose family operated arcades in Coney Island from 1949 through 1981, recalls the names of  businesses that were open in the winter back in the day: The Oceanside, Playland, Stauch's and Faber...
Content type: Oral History Item
The art of growing up Mexican American in Coney Island in the 1930s and '40s
George Ancona is a photographer, writer, art director, filmmaker, and illustrator. At Coney Island's Lincoln High School, Ancona studied with Leon Friend, who chaired the school's art department and served as a mentor to many famous graduates in the...
Content type: Oral History Item
Moscow-born Coney Island resident, writer of creative nonfiction and fiction, and professor of English
Natasha Lvovich is a Coney Island resident, a writer of creative nonfiction and fiction, and a Professor of English at  CUNY Kingsborough.  Originally from Moscow, her family of Refuseniks experienced what she describes as "the very hard path" to...
Content type: Oral History Item
From breakdancing on the streets of Coney Island with Fresh Kids to Peter Gennaro's Street Dreams
In August 2018, on the occasion of the 35th Anniversary Coney Island Break Dancers Reunion, Alito Hernandez shares memories of learning to breakdance as a young boy in the 1980s and the history of Fresh Kids crew in Coney Island.  "My parents moved...
Content type: Oral History Item