Robert Levrini

Memories of growing up on West 5th Street and grandfather's shoe repair shop on Ocean Parkway

Robert Levrini
Interview Date:
March 13, 2020


Born in 1946, Robert Levrini shares boyhood memories of growing up on West 5th Street and a silhouette of himself cut on Surf Avenue. Left to roam on his own, Robert and his friends played in a field adjacent to Lincoln High School and Coney Island Creek, and rode the rides in the amusement area.  One of his earliest memories is the aroma of his grandfather's shoe repair shop on Ocean Parkway, where his mother would leave him when she went shopping. He says that to this day when he shines a pair of shoes, he can feel his Grandfather Levrini's presence.  Robert tells the story of the Italian cobbler's mysterious origin as an orphan in Palermo and his surname 'Levrini,' which means purveyor of rabbits.  Musing on the fact that the Coney Island means 'Rabbit Island,' Robert says: "There are so many synchronicities to my having lived there and the blessed life I had since."