Jeanette Bigelson

At age 103, Coney Island resident shares her memories and secrets to a long and happy life

Born in 1920, Jeanette Bigelson grew up at 62 Cannon Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan when it was a neighborhood of working-class immigrants. She shares memories of her mother's homemade challah and noodles; friendly neighbors who kept their doors open; her favorite subject in school; and the Great Depression. After getting married at age 20 and having her first child at 21, Bigelson and her family moved to an apartment three blocks from her parents.

Bigelson remembers going to Coney Island as a child with her mother and later as a young woman with her husband and children. Her memories include a crowded beach that was "my camp"; luncheonettes under the boardwalk; the mirror room and swimming pools at Washington Baths and Annex; and riding the carousel and "drive your own car" bumper cars. In 1964, Bigelson and her family moved to Coney Island's then brand-new Warbasse Houses, where she still lives today. Among her secrets to living a long and happy life are walking on the beach with her feet in the water and listening to the waves. 

In February 2023, JASA celebrated Bigelson's 103rd birthday with a party at their Luna Park Annex Older Adult Center in Coney Island, which Bigelson calls her "second home."