1950 - 1959

Coney Island businessman and neighborhood activist
Lou Powsner, a former Coney Island businessman and neighborhood activist remembers his fond and not so fond memories of working in Coney Island. Jennifer Snow, his grand-daughter, talks about the future of Coney Island and having a grandfather who...
Content type: Oral History Item
Visited Coney Island from Massachusetts as a boy
Joe Rysz remembers visiting Coney Island as he grew up in the 1950's when his family would come to visit their relatives who lived in Brooklyn. Being from a small town in Massachusetts, he was very impressed by New York City and remembers Coney...
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
Fond memories of Coney Island
Joseph Svehlak recalls two generations of stories from Coney Island. His mother grew up in lower Manhattan as a first generation American born to European parents in the early 1910’s. On Sundays after church, her father would take her and her sister...
Content type: Oral History Item
Grew up in a Coney Island bungalow
Tommy Smith grew up with thirteen brothers and sisters in a Coney Island bungalow. Their father worked at a number of bars around town and Tommy began working around town at an early age too. He learned to make egg creams and frappes at Dick'...
Content type: Oral History Item
Remembers visiting Coney Island as a girl
Shirley Helems (ne DeCarlo) remembers visiting the beach and Steeplechase Park as a girl. Her mother would bring Shirley and her sister by bus and even brought the girls' grandparents' from Italy when they visited.
Content type: Oral History Item
Holders of Coney Island History
82 year-old Ben Grisar and his wife Vivian both grew up in Coney Island. Ben's grandfather owned many businesses in Coney Island including partial ownership in Dreamland Park, which was destroyed by fire in 1911. He shares his personal memories...
Content type: Oral History Item