Charles Guariglia

Memories of working a bread route on Coney Island's Mermaid Avenue in the 1950's and '60s

Charles Guariglia
Interview Date:
April 11, 2020


Charles Guariglia's father, Frank, was a "bread man" who delivered Stuhmer's kosher bread to the Jewish delicatessens and shops along Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island from 1947 to 1973. From age 9 until he was a freshman in college, Charles accompanied his dad on his route in the summer and got to meet the hard-working store owners, many of whom were Holocaust survivors. "As I look back, it was probably the one experience that helped form me as an adult," he says. "Hard work, honesty, tell the truth at all times. " In this interview, Guariglia, who is now 77, describes a different side of Coney Island. "Unbeknownst to so many, it was a lot more than the beach and the boardwalk," he says. "It was Mermaid Avenue, and the teeming commerce that was taking place there every day."