Eric Schwelke

Memories of living in Luna Park Houses in the 1960s and again in the late 1970s

Eric Schwelke's maternal and paternal grandparents settled in Coney Island in the first decades of the 20th century and his mother Frieda Schwelke grew up on West 29th and West 32nd Street. Born in 1952, Schwelke's earliest memories of Coney Island are visiting his grandmother's house on West 32nd. His family lived on Avenue S until 1962, when they moved into the newly built Luna Park Houses, a Mitchell Lama co-op on Surf Avenue across from the amusement rides. He recalls the Ravenhall fire, Astroland,  Coney Island Theater Building, and fishing from the rocks. In 1970, Schwelke and his family moved to Florida, but he returned to live in a rented room in Luna Park Houses while attending NYU in the late 1970s. He reflects on how Coney Island had changed since his childhood days and how it has been rejuvenated today.