English

Reflections on running Wilensky Hardware, a 100-year-old family business on Mermaid Avenue
Wilensky Hardware on Mermaid Avenue is an anchor of the community and the oldest family-owned business in Coney Island. The store survived a century of urban renewal, arson, hurricanes, crime waves, and the civic neglect that led to the closing of...
Content type: Oral History Item
Resident of Coney Island for 47 years and retired transit cleaner at Stillwell Terminal
Lorraine Ross recalls moving to Coney Island on April 1st, 1973,  never imagining she would stay so long. Now 72 and retired, she first lived in an apartment on West 36th Street, where she raised her sons, before moving to Gravesend Houses, where...
Content type: Oral History Item
Collector of 1950's and '60s memorabilia whose Bensonhurst home is known as the Statue House
Steve Campanella is the owner of what's known as "The Bensonhurst Statue House" on 85th Street in Brooklyn.  The private home is locally famous for his collection of "life size personalities" outside as well as collectibles inside the home and...
Content type: Oral History Item
Russian Orthodox priest at Coney Island's St. John of Kronstadt Chapel for the Homeless
This interview was conducted and recorded in Russian. Read Julia Kanin's transcript and translation below. Интервью проведено и записано на русском языке. Вы можете ознакомиться с траснскриптом и переводом Юлии Ханиной ниже. Father Maxim Pliskov is...
Content type: Oral History Item
Artist whose watercolors of the Astroland Rocket and Wonder Wheel sign are emblematic of Coney Island
Watercolor artist Frederick Brosen is a native New Yorker whose boyhood memories include Steeplechase's revolving barrel at the park's entrance, wooden slide, and horse race ride.  As a father, he rediscovered the joy of Coney Island through a...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of riding the Steeplechase Horses, Human Roulette Wheel and Parachute Jump 70 years ago
Born and raised in Astoria, Queens, Chris Cuomo, 78, shares memories of going to Steeplechase Park in the late 1940's and early '50s.  "Every summer, my mom would take us and half the neighborhood down on the train to Coney Island, and she'd pack a...
Content type: Oral History Item
Calligrapher recounts his artistic journey from China's Guangdong Province to Brooklyn's Bensonhurst
This interview was conducted and recorded in Cantonese Chinese by (Sylvia) Ching Man Wong. Transcription by Ching Man Wong and Keenan Yutai Chen with English translation by Keenan Yutai Chen. Read the transcript and translation below:...
Content type: Oral History Item
Brooklyn-born playwright on her plays set in Coney Island and a marriage proposal on the beach
Brooklyn born and based playwright Gina Femia has written 32 full-length plays, including three set in various locations in Coney Island, from the playgrounds of the projects to the Wonder Wheel. Among them are The Mermaids' Parade (2015-2016) and...
Content type: Oral History Item
Ride operator at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park for 11 years and Michael Jackson impressionist
Robert Serrano, Jr. has been working at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park for the past 11 years and says he can't wait for the park's celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Wonder Wheel in 2020.  As a ride operator, his favorite ride to operate is the...
Content type: Oral History Item
President of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club for the past 12 years and a member since the 1980s
Dennis Thomas, the president of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club for the past 12 years, shares memories of his first swim with the club - "That's crazy, I want to do it!"- and feeling drawn to the desolate yet haunting atmosphere of Coney Island in...
Content type: Oral History Item