1920 - 1929

Australian circus historian whose family performed at Coney Island's Luna Park in the early 1900s
Mark St Leon is an Australian circus historian whose family performed in Coney Island at Thompson and Dundy's Luna Park in the early 1900s.  The St Leon troupe of bareback riders, acrobats and tightwire artists who came to the U.S. was led by his...
Content type: Oral History Item
Growing up in Gravesend and going to Coney Island in the 1940s and living there today
Esther Delgado (née Scarlino), 88, recalls living in a bungalow on West Eighth Street in Gravesend when she was a child in the 1940s.  In 1929 her maternal grandparents first rented the bungalow for $33 a month because they thought they could walk...
Content type: Oral History Item
Machinist at MTA's Coney Island Overhaul and Repair Shop and oldest active TWU Local 100 member
Frank Gurrera, 94, is a machinist at the MTA's Coney Island Overhaul and Repair Shop. He has worked there for 49 years and is the oldest active member of the Transport Workers Union, TWU Local 100.  "Sometimes they come up with the big parts,...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of Coney Island in the 1920s and '30s
Born in Harlem, Ida Rosenblum Gambrell, now 94, spent her childhood summers in Coney Island at her aunt's home on Surf Avenue and West 24th Street. Ida recalls her mother giving her and her sister 20 cents to take the train from 103rd Street to 42nd...
Content type: Oral History Item
Greg Birbil's father, Paul, was a candy maker who owned the Paradise Ice Cream Parlor on Surf Avenue
Founded in 1928, the Paradise Ice Cream Parlor, also known as the Paradise Luncheonette, was a fixture at 1605 Surf Avenue across from Steeplechase Park for more than 30 years. Greg Birbil, who was born in 1937, shares memories of growing up in "Pop...
Content type: Oral History Item
Childs Restaurant on the Boardwalk, constructed in 1924. Washington Baths is to the right. The scene is circa 1925.
Content type: Collection Item
Collection type: B/W photograph
Reflections on running Wilensky Hardware, a 100-year-old family business on Mermaid Avenue
Wilensky Hardware on Mermaid Avenue is an anchor of the community and the oldest family-owned business in Coney Island. The store survived a century of urban renewal, arson, hurricanes, crime waves, and the civic neglect that led to the closing of...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up on West 36th Street in Coney Island's West End
Edith Storch, 90, grew up in the West End of Coney Island at 2762 West 36th Street near Canal Avenue. She shares memories of her immigrant parents, shops and street vendors, a nickelodeon on the pier at West 37th Street on the Bay, and Coney Island...
Content type: Oral History Item
Grandson of sword swallower Joseph "Ajax" Milana and DeWise Purdin "The Handless Sharpshooter"
Van Milana, 65, was born on Dewey Place in the area of Coney Island called "The Gut" before Trump Village and Warbasse. He shares memories of both of his grandfathers, who were famous sideshow performers in Coney Island. Milana recalls his paternal...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up in Coney Island during the Great Depression and 55 years practicing law
Charles Berkman, who was 88 when this interview was recorded and turned 90 on July 2, 2018, grew up on West 29th Street in Coney Island during the Great Depression.  The youngest of nine children of a hard-working orphan immigrant from Poland,...
Content type: Oral History Item