Johanna Gargiulo Sherman

Artist and Coney Island resident recalls growing up on Mermaid Avenue above Carolina Restaurant

Artist Johanna Gargiulo Sherman grew up in Coney Island, where her family lived on Mermaid Avenue in a cold water flat above Carolina Restaurant. Her father Joe "Carolina" Gargiulo led a musical trio and was one of the partners in this popular Italian restaurant from 1947 through the 1980's. Johanna recounts the history and traditions of the Carolina, the personalities who frequented the restaurant, and her vivid childhood memories. In the days when "everyone knew everyone," "The Carolina Kids" were given a bagful of coins and sent off on their own to enjoy the amusement area, where the wax museum and the Steeplechase horses were terrifying fun. After graduating from Pratt and taking illustration classes at the School of Visual Arts, she was commissioned to create the Sacred Rose Tarot deck, for which she still receives royalties. Moving back to Coney Island in 1985 as the owner of one of the homes built by Astella Development led to her involvement as a board member of the community organization and the inaugural sand sculpting contest, which recently marked its 25th anniversary.