Matt Kennedy

Longtime Head of Coney Island Chamber of Commerce

Matt Kennedy
Interview Date:
September 1 2007



Long the executive secretary of the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce, 100-year-old Matt Kennedy was one of Coney Island's biggest champions. Of Irish, Italian and Russian descent, his grandfather was a lighthouse keeper and his grandmother a Russian Jewess who left Russia to escape the Czar. Matt used to shoot craps on the Wonder Wheel and was one of few people old enough to remember Dreamland. Here he talks about such Coney Island phenomena as the Crater case (Judge Crater, who vanished mysteriously in 1930, was killed by a city cop and his cab-driver brother and buried under the boardwalk in Coney Island, according to a Queens woman who died in 2005), famous mobster Abe Reles, who died in police custody, and The Standard Union, a 3-cent daily popular in the 20's that was competitive with the Brooklyn Eagle.

Matt Kennedy passed away on March 22, 2006 at the age of 101.