Ida Rosenblum Gambrell

Memories of Coney Island in the 1920s and '30s

Ida Rosenblum Gambrell
Interview Date:
June 10, 2017


Born in Harlem, Ida Rosenblum Gambrell, now 94, spent her childhood summers in Coney Island at her aunt's home on Surf Avenue and West 24th Street. Ida recalls her mother giving her and her sister 20 cents to take the train from 103rd Street to 42nd Street. They had to pay a second fare to board the BMT to Coney Island. Her parents visited on weekends.  Her aunt's home, where one of the rooms was rented to summer boarders, and getting separated from her family during the chaos of the Luna Park fire of 1932, are among her memories. On a recent trip back to Coney Island with her family, Ida shared photos and stories with the Coney Island History Project before embarking on a walking tour, which brought back more childhood memories. "It's entirely different. It's unbelievable. I like it the old way," she said.