1940 - 1949

Retired Coney Island arcade operator recalls his family's 30-plus years in the business
Stan Fox's family operated arcades in Coney Island from 1949 through 1981, including Playland Arcade. Born in 1944, Stan recalls his earliest memories of living in a railroad flat on Mermaid Avenue, watching the trolley cars go by, and playing in...
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
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
Memories of going to Coney Island Beach as a child in the 1930's and a teenager in the '40s
Born in 1932, Connie Scacciaferro grew up in Ridgewood and enjoyed outings to Coney Island Beach as a young girl. "Anybody that could carry a shopping bag when we were little, carried a shopping bag on the train to the beach," she says of taking the...
Content type: Oral History Item
Growing up on West 16th Street between Mermaid and Neptune in a cold water flat in the 1940s and '50s
Carmela recalls growing up in Coney Island on West 16th Street between Mermaid and Neptune Avenues in a cold water flat with a coal belly stove and an ice box.  She lived there until 1959, when she got married and moved to her husband's neighborhood...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up on West 36th Street in Coney Island's West End in the 1930s
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