1950 - 1959

Queen of Coney Island
Janet Panetta's family had a locker at the Steeplechase Park Bathhouse in the 1950's. She and her sister were set loose to play in the pool and around the park. One summer, Janet contracted polio and remembers being called the Queen of...
Content type: Oral History Item
An adventuresome youth in Coney Island
Naomi Starss shares this story from her youth about getting in trouble with the police for panhandling with a girlfriend in Coney Island when they were fourteen years old. She describes how they made friends with a good-looking policeman who...
Content type: Oral History Item
Lived in Coney Island from 1938 thru early 1950's
Harry spent his formative years in Coney Island and has many memories of the sights and sounds from his youth. Before being drafted into the military during the Korean War, he had various part-time jobs including a stint at Silver's Bathhouse...
Content type: Oral History Item
Visiting Coney Island his whole life
Allen Ashby started coming to Coney Island as a boy in the late 1950's. In the 60's, he came with high school friends and spent most of his time trying to meet girls. Later, he brought his daughters for visits as they grew up in the 70...
Content type: Oral History Item
Owner of Williams Candy and past owner of Fascination Arcade
Peter Agrapides owns and operates the Williams Candy shop next door to Nathans. He began working in Coney Island in 1949 and also owned the Fascination game arcade on Surf Avenue next to the old Loew's (Shore) Theater.
Content type: Oral History Item
Lived in Coney Island during the 50's
In the 1950s, Gene and his older brother lived in Coney Island. Gene has vivid memories of Steeplechase Park, the Wonder Wheel and his favorite ride, the Bobsled. He recalls his brother selling Good Humor ice cream on the beach, charging double or...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of the Bobsled, Caterpillar and Parachute Jump
Joan grew up in Brooklyn and describes it as a magical place where neighborhood people all knew each other and the smell of tomato sauce was in the air on a Sunday. In the summer, her father worked in an arcade near the Parachute Jump. She recalls...
Content type: Oral History Item
Helping his Dad run a dark ride called the House of Horrors
Joel Minesquero's father operated a spookhouse and performed in the sideshow in Coney Island. Joel takes us on a tour of his favorite spots and reminisces about his rides on the Parachute Jump and his efforts as an outside talker for his father...
Content type: Oral History Item
Shared their 1950's childhood under the boardwalk
Stephanie Norr and Betty Cohn have been friends since age four when their mothers registered them on the same day for nursery school on the lower east side of Manhattan. The women recall coming to Coney Island as children in the 1950's. They...
Content type: Oral History Item
Family of former Coney game and ride owner Jack Merr
Linda Merr, wife of former game and ride owner Jack Merr recalls the one and only time she acted in a sideshow alongside Iron Jaw Joe. Michael Merr, son of Jack and Linda, expresses his opinion about the future of Coney Island.
Content type: Oral History Item