Arlene Oken Straus

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 had five buildings and they lived in Building 2. "I don't think we knew how lucky we were until you go back and you look at your past history there," she says.  Oken Straus recalls that her building had a large number of teenagers, who socialized at the benches on the grounds and mingled with teens at other new co-ops in the area like Trump Village and attended Lincoln High School together.  She and her husband lived in Luna Park Houses until 1978. As the years have passed, more and more of her friends from those days have relocated to Florida, she says. "The last time we saw each other, we were 15 and 16. And you can walk right back in like old friends and you feel right at home."