Born in 1926, Nancy Gabriel grew up in Staten Island and visited Coney Island frequently with her parents throughout her childhood. Her great uncle, Peter Lazaris, ran a food concession under the Boardwalk and later at the Steeplechase Pool, from around 1935 to 1953. She recalls going to Uncle Pete's stand, which sold hot dogs, clam chowder, and other Coney Island specialities. He would give Nancy and her cousin a pair of round "Funny Face" combination tickets for all of the rides in Steeplechase Park. She remembers riding the Steeplechase horses and the Chanticleer, a carousel with rooster figures. Later, as an adult, Nancy visited Coney Island with her husband and ate for the first time at Nathan's, where she wasn't allowed to go as a child because her family dined exclusively at Uncle Pete's.