Orlando Mendez

Growing up in Coney Island in the 1970s and being the third generation of his family to live here today

Orlando Mendez moved from Hell’s Kitchen to Coney Island as a toddler and lived with his extended family in a series of apartments on West 16th, West 20th, and West 29th Streets. In 1969, Mendez and his father and brother moved into Carey Gardens, a newly built high-rise development overseen by the New York City Housing Authority, also known as NYCHA.  The rising crime rate caused them to transfer to O’Dwyer Gardens, a NYCHA development in Coney’s West End. Mendez recalls the upheaval and destruction of the West End in the 1970s due to urban renewal. Today he is the third generation of his family to live in the O'Dwyer Gardens apartment that was originally his grandmother's apartment when the complex was new.