Interview Highlight Bookmarks
On January 1st, 2016, the Vourderis family opened Deno's Wonder Wheel on New Year's Day for the first time in the landmark's 95 year history. The Coney Island History Project was on hand to record New Year's greetings from the Wonder Wheel for our Oral History Archive. Interviewers Mark Markov and Samira Tazari were stationed at the entrance and exit of the Wheel to record New Year's greetings in several languages and Coney Island memories. The historic event drew guests from all over the world, including France, Switzerland, Sweden, Portugal, Russia, Taiwan, Australia and Canada, as well as Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Long Island, and New Jersey. Some riders had also come to Coney Island to join the New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge,
Among the narrators who had stories to tell are Deno John Vourderis, whose family has owned and operated the Wonder Wheel for over 30 years; Jimmy Prince, who retired from Mermaid Avenue's Major Meat Market in 2009 after 60 years; his son Todd Prince, who is home for the holidays; and Stuart Weger and Alexandra Mann, who were married on the Wonder Wheel in 2001. The original audio interviews are preserved in the Coney Island History Project's archive. This selection was edited for online listening by Samira Tazari.
This program is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger.