Irene Karas

Sea Gate resident on her girlhood memories of Coney Island and passing them on to her daughter

Currently a resident of Sea Gate, Irene Karas was born in Belgium and grew up in Bensonhurst and on Ocean Parkway. She recalls excursions to Coney Island beach with her family.  As a young girl, Irene would "roam all of the nooks and crannies of Coney Island" with her brother and developed a scheme to avoid paying for rides when they ran out of money. Irene shares memories of Steeplechase Park, Ravenhall Baths, Napoli Seven Seas, and the freak shows. "When my daughter was little, I would walk her through all the streets and alleys so she grew up with a feeling for what it was like," she says, "I couldn't lose those memories because I saw Coney Island changing and going into a downward spiral. If I didn't keep the memories and pass them on, a lot of the history would be lost." Her daughter Danielle Mastrion is an artist who has painted murals for the New York Aquarium, Luna Park, Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, and other Coney Island attractions.