1940 - 1949

Mary Hood came to Coney Island as a child and worked on the Bowery well into her 90s
95-year-old Mary Hood (a.k.a. Mary Fish) was a regular at the bar at Peggy O'Neill's. She was either working long hours as a ticket taker at the Eldorado Skooter or she was drinking into the wee hours. It was hard to pin her down or to keep up with...
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
Memories of a Yiddish literary household in 1940's and 1950's Coney Island and Sea Gate
Eva Zucker grew up in Coney and Sea Gate in the 1940s and 1950s in a literary household. Yiddish was her first language.  She recounts memories of her father, the Yiddish poet A. Lutzky, who made a living writing Saturday poems for the newspaper Der...
Content type: Oral History Item
Lived on Mermaid Ave. between 35th and 36th Streets between 1945 and 1965
Robert Shapiro lived on Mermaid Avenue until his marriage in 1965. He and his wife both grew up in Coney Island and remember neighborhood restaurants, stores and social clubs. Local celebrities like Neil Diamond, Woody Guthrie and Louis Gossett, Jr...
Content type: Oral History Item
Son of Richard Carillo, Concession Owner
Nicholas Carrillo's father Richard emigrated from Italy and moved to Coney Island in the late 1940's. He introduced a bowling game and Skee Ball to Coney Island. He also used to repair the intricate Sodamat machine, brought to Coney...
Content type: Oral History Item
Ran penny arcades in Coney Island for over 20 years
Stanley relates a fifty-year history of penny arcades in Coney Island. He and his brother ran a few of them, including Playland, and knew the locations and owners of many others.
Content type: Oral History Item
Grew up in Coney Island in the 1940's
Ralph was born in Coney Island on July 19, 1934, twenty-two years to the day after his mother in the same house. He lovingly describes growing up in Coney Island in remarkable specifics, including stories of local individuals, their diversity, their...
Content type: Oral History Item
Cousin of Beth Allen, incubator baby
Terry Silverman's cousin, Beth Allen, was born 2 months premature in 1941. Desperate to save her and with few other options - hospitals of the day had no facilities for premature infants - Beth's parents placed her in the care of Dr....
Content type: Oral History Item
Beth Allen recounts her origins as an "incubator baby" in Dr. Martin Couney's sideshow
Beth Allen was born 3 months premature in 1941, weighing 1lb 10 oz. Desperate to save her and with few other options - hospitals of the day had no facilities for premature infants - her parents placed her in the care of Dr. Martin Couney, a neonatal...
Content type: Oral History Item
Juilliard trained musician whose family owned Washington Baths
José Beth Smolensky, born in 1927, 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....
Content type: Oral History Item