Sam Moses

Sign-painting legend, musician and Sea Gate resident

Sam Moses
Interview Date:
July 20, 2017


Sea Gate resident Sam Moses, 66, is one of Coney Island's finest sign painters. He shares memories of his boyhood apprenticeship at a sign shop in East New York and his dreams of painting in Coney Island.  In 1998, he moved to Sea Gate and started working out of a Coney Island sign shop in a trailer behind Nathan's. "We not only did a sign to get paid, we did a sign because we liked the way it looked," says Moses, whose masterpieces included the front of Denny's Ice Cream on Surf Avenue. He recalls the era before computer graphics and vinyl signage, when the art of hand lettering with two outlines and drop shadows was in high demand.  In the summer of 2017, when this interview was recorded, Moses was doing the lettering for a mural painted with fellow artists Danielle Mastrion and Tommy Holiday in Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. He is also a musician who plays keyboard and guitar, and tells stories of recording and touring with Tommy Ellison and the Five Singing Stars, a rock gospel group, and other musicians in the 1970s and '80s.