English

Poet and writer from Afghanistan who grew up in Southern Brooklyn
Zohra Saed is a poet, editor and translator who was born in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, and immigrated to Brooklyn with her family as a child in the 1980s. She grew up in the close-knit Uzbek-Turkestani community on Ocean Avenue in Sheepshead Bay and...
Content type: Oral History Item
Growing up in Coney Island as a teenager in the 1960s and '70s
Tony Williams and his family moved from Harlem to Coney Island when he was 13. He lived on West 33rd Street between Mermaid and Neptune Avenues from 1966 until the late 1970s. Tall for his age (he was 6'2"), Tony was hired to operate rides in the...
Content type: Oral History Item
Singer, musician and composer who lives in Sea Gate
Ellina Graypel is a singer, musician, and composer who lives in the Sea Gate section of Coney Island. She was drawn to this "small town in a big city" by the ocean and the saturated light. Ellina grew up in Belarus, where she began writing songs as...
Content type: Oral History Item
Musical inspiration and meditation at Coney Island
Cuzzo Sosay is a musician and producer of gangster hip hop, soul music, inspirational music, and R & B who visited the Coney Island History Project this past summer. As a boy growing up in Brooklyn in the 1980s, his parents took him to Coney...
Content type: Oral History Item
Groundbreaking filmmaker grew up in Sea Gate and on Mermaid Avenue
Filmmaker Joyce Chopra grew up in Coney Island and Sea Gate in the 1930s and ‘40s. Her grandparents were the owners of Kalina's Baths on Surf Avenue at West 33rd Street. Chopra describes how she got the acting bug at Lincoln High School while...
Content type: Oral History Item
Brooklyn College history student grew up working in his family's bodega in Brighton Beach
Nasim Almantaser, 21, is a Brooklyn College student who grew up working in his Yemeni-American family's bodega in Brighton Beach. He recalls his father, who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s, working 12-hour shifts to support their family. As a...
Content type: Oral History Item
The Roller Coaster Reverend shares stories of Cyclone weddings
After Reverend Cliff Herring married a couple on Coney Island’s Cyclone roller coaster, the NY Daily News called him “the Roller Coaster Reverend” and “a card carrying member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts.” Reverend Herring is member #18 in a...
Content type: Oral History Item
Educator at New York Aquarium and passionate observer of Brooklyn wildlife
Jen Kepler is an educator at the New York Aquarium whose titles are Manager of Volunteers and Visitor Engagement and Live Interpretation Manager. The Brooklyn native recalls aspiring to work there ever since her childhood visits to see the beluga...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up on West 29th Street and meeting her lifeguard husband on Coney Island Beach
Ellen Abrams' earliest memory is sitting in a wicker carriage and being taken for a stroll on the boardwalk by her mother and grandmother. Growing up in Coney Island in the 1940s and '50s, Ellen enjoyed birthday parties every July on the beach and ...
Content type: Oral History Item
Coney Island native and longtime independent game operator on Jones Walk
Monica Ghee is a Coney Island native who has operated games at various locations in the amusement district on and off for the past 52 years.  She recalls some of the games she has worked in the past, including the dime pitch, glass pitch, goldfish...
Content type: Oral History Item