Robert Serrano Jr.

Ride operator at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park for 11 years and Michael Jackson impressionist

Robert Serrano Jr.
Interview Date:
October 28, 2019


Robert Serrano, Jr. has been working at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park for the past 11 years and says he can't wait for the park's celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Wonder Wheel in 2020.  As a ride operator, his favorite ride to operate is the Tilt-A-Whirl, followed by some of the kiddie rides of his boyhood. Robert shares memories of his grandmother working at Deno's starting in the 1990s and bringing him and his siblings to ride the Fire Engines and Pony Carts, which are still popular today.  He says it was because of his grandmother's encouragement and her close ties to the park that he went on to get a job here.

Robert recalls that he started doing the Michael Jackson character a few months after the singer's death in 2009. He is known in Coney Island for singing and dancing in the style of MJ at talent shows and karaoke parties on the Boardwalk and for his impromptu appearances. Called "Roberto," "Michael," "MJ," or "Mr. Jackson" by his co-workers, Robert also resembles his idol a bit. "It does bring me joy that I still keep the name of Michael Jackson alive," he says.