1920 - 1929

Granddaughter of Anthony "Totonno" Pero tells the story of how he founded Totonno's Pizzeria in 1924
Antoinette Balzano is the granddaughter of Totonno's founder, Anthony Pero. At Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitana on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island, pizzas have been made in the same way in the same spot since 1924. Anthony (Totonno) Pero, emigrated from...
Content type: Oral History Item
Louise Milano's mother, Carolina, operated Carolina Restaurant on Mermaid Avenue for 60 years
Founded in 1928, Carolina Restaurant on Mermaid Avenue was a fixture for over 60 years. Carolina, known as Carrie, prepared traditional home style cooking that remains memorable to generations of Coney Island residents. Carrie's daughter Louise and...
Content type: Oral History Item
The story behind the Boardwalk Lido Restaurant and the family who operated it from 1927 until 1960
Steve Arniotes and his family operated the Lido Restaurant and Bar on the Coney Island Boardwalk from 1927 until 1960. Steve and his brother were lawyers and both became judges. Arniotes describes his family roots and what it was like to operate a...
Content type: Oral History Item
Co-founder of the Brownstone Revival Coalition
Everett Ortner, 87-year old former magazine editor and co-founder of the Brownstone Revival Coalition in New York City, shares his Coney Island experience as a little boy in 1925. Listen to Everett reminisce about trolley rides to Coney Island and...
Content type: Oral History Item
Great-grandson of strongman The Great Sandow
Chris's great-grandfather was strongman The Great Sandow, Eugen Sandow, who was born 1867 and died 1925. He describes how many bodybuilders in the 20th century, including the Mighty Atom, modeled themselves after his great-grandfather, who at...
Content type: Oral History Item
87-year-old remembers the Nickel Empire
Joseph Albanese returns to Coney Island after seventy years to talk about his memories of growing up there. He used to steam at the Washington Baths with his family, eat at Nathan's, and go on all the rides (including the train to get there)...
Content type: Oral History Item
Juilliard trained musician whose family owned Washington Baths
Jose Beth Smolensky describes growing up working for the Washington Baths, her family's Coney Island business. Her father, Harry Smolensky had high standards for cleanliness and kept the baths open for a longer season than most. Both of these...
Content type: Oral History Item
Depression-era resident and survivor of the 1932 fire
Goldie Durlester, daughter of a ladies' coat and suit pattern maker, was born in 1925. In the period prior to the start of the second World War, Durlester lived in a half-dozen or so locations around Coney Island and the West End. A survivor of...
Content type: Oral History Item
Radio broadcaster and Coney Island native
Freda Aron, née Umansky, was born in Brooklyn in 1915 and grew up in Coney Island in the 1920s and '30s as the child of Russian immigrant parents. After attending Bay Ridge Girls High School, she graduated from Lincoln High School's first...
Content type: Oral History Item
Grandson of Coney Island Developer William J. Ward
Jack Ward recounts his family’s long history in Coney Island. He begins with his great grandfather John Ward's purchase of beachfront property at 12th Street and Surf Avenue in 1879 and continues through his grandfather William J. Ward's...
Content type: Oral History Item