1940 - 1949

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 riding the Steeplechase Horses, Human Roulette Wheel and Parachute Jump 70 years ago
Born and raised in Astoria, Queens, Chris Cuomo, 78, shares memories of going to Steeplechase Park in the late 1940's and early '50s.  "Every summer, my mom would take us and half the neighborhood down on the train to Coney Island, and she'd pack a...
Content type: Oral History Item
Calligrapher recounts his artistic journey from China's Guangdong Province to Brooklyn's Bensonhurst
This interview was conducted and recorded in Cantonese Chinese by (Sylvia) Ching Man Wong. Transcription by Ching Man Wong and Keenan Yutai Chen with English translation by Keenan Yutai Chen. Read the transcript and translation below:...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up in Coney Island in the 1930s and '40s
Anne Green, 89, grew up in Coney Island and currently lives in Brighton Beach. Her family first moved to West 20th Street in Coney Island after a fire in their Harlem apartment. She shares childhood memories of finding a $10 bill on the beach, ...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of working at Coney Island's pony track as a boy in the 1940s for "no pay, just tips"
Born in Flatbush, Steve Burke shares boyhood memories of working at Coney Island's pony track,  where the Aquarium is now, in the 1940s. As a boy of 10 and 11 he worked two summers for "no pay, just tips" and the fun of riding the horses, he says. ...
Content type: Oral History Item
A 90-year-old Coney Island resident recounts her journey from Moscow to Southern Brooklyn
This interview was conducted and recorded in Russian. Read Julia Kanin's transcript and translation below. Интервью проведено и записано на русском языке. Вы можете ознакомиться с траснскриптом и переводом Юлии Ханиной ниже. Yeva Novik, 90, an...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up a block from the ocean and being head of Lincoln High School's Art Squad
Sheila Levrant de Bretteville is a graphic designer, artist and educator who graduated in 1959 from Lincoln High School, where she was mentored by Leon Friend, the much lauded chair of Lincoln's art department. She recalls her work as head of the...
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
Author and leader of the Holocaust Survivors Group at Marks JCH of Bensonhurst
This interview was conducted and recorded in Russian. Read Julia Kanin's transcript and translation below. Интервью проведено и записано на русском языке. Вы можете ознакомиться с траснскриптом и переводом Юлии Ханиной ниже. Khonya Epstein, 91, a...
Content type: Oral History Item
The art of growing up Mexican American in Coney Island in the 1930s and '40s
George Ancona is a photographer, writer, art director, filmmaker, and illustrator. At Coney Island's Lincoln High School, Ancona studied with Leon Friend, who chaired the school's art department and served as a mentor to many famous graduates in the...
Content type: Oral History Item