1930 - 1939

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
Writer, poet and healer who grew up in a Yiddish literary family in Sea Gate during World War II
Deena Metzger is a writer, poet and healer who was born in Brighton Beach in 1936, moved to Sea Gate when she was three, and went to school in Coney Island. "The land, the water, the sea were formative characters in my life," she says. "When I was...
Content type: Oral History Item
Daughter of Gargiulo's founder was born in an apartment above Coney Island's famous restaurant
Josephine “Chickie” Cassata is the daughter of the late Louis Gargiulo, founder of Coney Island’s famous Gargiulo's Restaurant on West 15th Street. Chickie was born in an apartment above the restaurant in 1929 and grew up working at the...
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...
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
The founder of the Dark Ride Project on documenting Spook-A-Rama and other historic dark rides
Joel Zika is a multimedia artist, a lecturer in Creative Arts at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and the creator of the Dark Ride Project. Using a Virtual Reality 360- degree video camera, his mission is to document the dwindling number...
Content type: Oral History Item
Clothing company CEO George Rudes grew up in the shadow of the Half Moon Hotel
George Rudes lived in Coney Island from 1930 until 1948 when he went off to college. He lived next door to the Half Moon Hotel on West 29th Street. His father, Leo Isaac Rudes, was president of the synagogues on Mermaid Avenue and the one on West...
Content type: Oral History Item
Charles Robert Feltman, great-grandson of Feltmans Restaurant founder and hot dog inventor Charles Feltman
Charles Robert Feltman, great-grandson of Feltmans Restaurant founder and hot dog inventor Charles Feltman, tells the family history and describes  what Coney Island was like in the 1940s. Founded in the 1870s, Feltmans was once the world's largest...
Content type: Oral History Item
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