1940 - 1949

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
Memories of growing up in a Jones Walk rooming house in 1940s Coney Island
Gloria Nicholson was born in Coney Island in 1940 and grew up in a rooming house that her mother Josephine Boyce managed on Jones Walk and the Bowery. It overlooked the Virginia Reel and Wonder Wheel, which she often rode.  During the summer her...
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
Memories of growing up in the 1940s and '50s in a tight-knit Jewish community in Coney Island
Susan Meyer (a.k.a Dalbir Khalsa) grew up on Sea Breeze Avenue across from Seaside Park, in what she describes as a tight-knit Jewish community of East European origins. She recalls going to Washington Baths and Steeplechase Park every summer with...
Content type: Oral History Item
On growing up in Coney Island in the 1940s and the history of Greek-American businesses in the area
Father Eugene Pappas, the pastor of Southern Brooklyn's Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church for the past 35 years, shares his memories of Coney Island, where he was born in 1940. His family lived at 2812 Stillwell Avenue across from the subway...
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
Former teacher at Mark Twain Junior High School recalls his Coney Island memories
Jeffrey Eisenmesser, 73,  grew up in Bensonhurst in the late 1940s and early '50s.  He taught English Language Arts at Mark Twain I.S. 239 in Coney Island  from 1992 to 2007.  His earliest memories of Coney Island are going to Washington Baths pool ...
Content type: Oral History Item
Son of Coney Island artist, banner painter and Cyclops creator Dan Casola
Wesley Casola shares memories of growing up in Coney Island in the 1950s and '60s. The son of artist Dan Casola (1902-1990), he recalls his father building the Spook-A-Rama Cyclops in their yard and making figures for The World in Wax Musee. His...
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