Irwin Temkin

Growing up in Coney Island and how learning French at Lincoln High School influenced his life

Irwin Temkin shares stories of growing up in the West End of Coney Island in the 1950s and '60s. His family lived on Polar Street, later moved to his grandmother's house on West 31st Street, and finally to an apartment in O'Dwyer Gardens on West 33rd. Among his early memories are playing a street game called King of the Royal Mountain and going to the beach at Gravesend Bay. He recalls his father's printing business, Merit Press, located at 2313 Mermaid Avenue. Typewriter sales were a sideline and he became proficient at typing from an early age. When Temkin was a student at Abraham Lincoln High School, his French language skills led to an opportunity to study with the Centre d'Art Dramatique and an invitation to join the French Art Theatre repertory company. He performed in plays there from 1961 until 1978, when he moved to Barcelona, where he is an English teacher and translator.