Martin Abrams

Brooklynite who was a lifeguard in the 1950s and met his wife of 60 years on Coney Island Beach

Martin Abrams
Interview Date:
November 23, 2020


Born in 1938 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Martin Abrams learned to swim at Washington Baths pool and worked as a lifeguard for six summers at Coney Island Beach. It was there that he met his wife Ellen.  "My first time working at Bay 21, I noticed this blonde girl with a leopard skin bathing suit, two piece," he recalls. "I thought she was pretty nice but I wasn't a big girls guy. But I did talk with girls and somehow I met her, I think she actually set up the meeting, and I used to spend my lunches with her." In February 2021, the couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Martin recalls that when he started lifeguarding in 1956, the woolen tops were switched to nylon, and then to nylon tops and bottoms in 1957. He worked at four or five different beaches, including Bay 16, where Ellen would meet him for lunch with delicious sandwiches supplied by her mother. He shares memories of how he got the job, dating Ellen, and getting married in Coney Island in 1961.