Taty Alicea and her son Ralph Alicea share fond memories of Coney Island's famous Laughing Lady, a popular mechanical attraction that was part of the Magic Carpet Fun House and is greatly missed. "Wherever Matilda is, she's not home," says Ralph. Taty recalls her joyful "HA HA HA." It could be heard from a distance and children especially loved her and liked to imitate her laugh.
Taty's visits to Coney Island with family and friends began in 1948, when she moved to New York City from Puerto Rico. Ralph recalls gatherings on the beach in front of the Wonder Wheel with 30 to 40 neighbors from their apartment building and Taty's home-cooked chicken and rice and beans.
The day of their visit in July 2015 was Taty's birthday and they planned to celebrate with lunch at Nathan's and rum raisin ice cream cones for dessert. "I'm very nostalgic about Coney Island. I hope they have one in Heaven," says Ralph, who was looking forward to returning for his birthday in August.