1970 - 1979

A Coney Island native's memories of running amusement games
Eliot Wofse grew up in Luna Park Houses across the street from the amusement area, which he calls his playground. His elder brothers worked as game agents and regularly sent him off to play, for free, at Steeplechase Park and Playland Arcade. At...
Content type: Oral History Item
Lifelong Coney Island resident and author of Living Life Like It's Golden
Dionne Brown, who has lived in Coney Island all her life, also works here.  She grew up in Surfside Gardens and attended Surfside School (PS 329), Bay Academy, Lincoln High School, and Kingsborough Community College.  A love of reading was instilled...
Content type: Oral History Item
Co-owner and operator of Gregory & Paul's for more than 50 years
Gregory Bitetzakis and his partner, Paul Georgoulakos, have operated a half dozen restaurants in Coney Island for more than half a century. Although they are best known for their two stands on West 8th Street at Surf Avenue and on the Boardwalk,...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of working at a Coney Island beach chair and umbrella rental company as a teen in the 1970s
Steve Larkin's family lived in Coney Island and Brighton Beach from the time his Latvian-born grandfather David Latzkin immigrated here in 1903 until they moved in 1978. The family resided at 55 Railroad Avenue and later on Brighton 7th Street....
Content type: Oral History Item
Artist and Coney Island resident recalls growing up on Mermaid Avenue above Carolina Restaurant
Artist Johanna Gargiulo Sherman grew up in Coney Island, where her family lived on Mermaid Avenue in a cold water flat above Carolina Restaurant. Her father Joe "Carolina" Gargiulo led a musical trio and was one of the partners in this popular ...
Content type: Oral History Item
Community activist and president of the Carey Gardens Tenants Association
Shirley Aikens has called Coney Island her home for nearly 40 years and is very active in the community. She is president of the Carey Gardens Tenants Association and a member of Community Board 13 and the NYPD's 60th Precinct Community Council....
Content type: Oral History Item
Granddaughter of Anthony "Totonno" Pero tells the story of how he founded Totonno's Pizzeria in 1924
Antoinette Balzano is the granddaughter of Totonno's founder, Anthony Pero. At Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitana on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island, pizzas have been made in the same way in the same spot since 1924. Anthony (Totonno) Pero, emigrated from...
Content type: Oral History Item
Founder of Cultural Research Divers shares his knowledge of oceans, estuaries, and Coney Island Creek
Gene Ritter is a Coney Island native, environmental advocate, commercial diver and educator. He grew up on West 16th Street near Coney Island Creek and got certified as a diver as a 14-year-old. Gene is the founder and president of Cultural Research...
Content type: Oral History Item
Founder and director of Brighton Ballet Theater, now celebrating its 30th year
Coney Island resident Irina Roizin emigrated from Ukraine in 1976 and realized her childhood dream of founding a ballet school, Brighton Ballet Theater, in 1987. Roizin recounts first impressions of Brighton Beach and Coney, the challenges of...
Content type: Oral History Item
Bensonhurst native recalls riding Spook-A-Rama and playing Fascination in the 1970s
For Bensonhurst native Marie Martorano, a trip to Coney Island with her brother for Nathan's and Spook-A-Rama evokes childhood memories of riding the classic dark ride and the Wonder Wheel's swinging cars. "I'm so glad it's still here, It just...
Content type: Oral History Item