Karen Wilcox

Memories of living in Luna Park Houses and going to Coney Island bathhouses in the 1960s

Karen Wilcox and her family were among the original tenants of Luna Park Houses, moving there from the East New York section of Brooklyn in 1962. "We were the first family to live in Apt 15M in Building 4," says Wilcox, who was 11 at the time. "Then we moved to Apartment 18L in Building 3." She remembers her father being on the first board of directors, a bench that was a gathering spot for kids, and the unique architecture of the complex. Wilcox's Lithuanian grandmother swam year round with the Polar Bears and was a longtime patron of two bathhouses, Irving Baths and Cook's Baths, where she rented rooms and lockers in the summer. "She took me there and I would try to wrap myself up in a towel," says Wilcox, who recalls her grandmother saying "Take the towel off. Someone will think there's something wrong with you, if you don't go naked. It's very different from the way we think of things today."