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In the 1950s, Gene and his older brother lived in Coney Island. Gene has vivid memories of Steeplechase Park, the Wonder Wheel and his favorite ride, the Bobsled. He recalls his brother selling Good Humor ice cream on the beach, charging double or more the normal price because he would go into outlying areas of the beach where no other vendors ventured. Gene's dad used to work part time as a security guard at the Half Moon Hotel, after it was turned into a nursing home.