1970 - 1979

Tai chi teacher at Coney Island's Seaside Innovative Senior Center shares her life story
This interview was conducted and recorded in Cantonese Chinese. Read Keenan Chen's transcript and translation below: Juanhua Zhao, 82, has taught Tai Chi at the Coney Island Seaside Innovative Senior Center on 37th Street and Surf Avenue in Coney...
Content type: Oral History Item
Her father, Anthony Cosmo Pomaro, owned Cosmo Topper's Beauty Parlor on Mermaid Avenue
Carole Scheer grew up in Coney Island and tells the story of her father, Anthony Cosmo Pomaro, who owned and operated Cosmo Topper's Beauty Parlor on Mermaid Avenue. After serving in the Air Force during WW II, he attended beauty school and opened...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of working at the Tornado roller coaster and other Coney Island rides and games in the 1970s
Michael Liff recalls growing up in Coney Island across the street from the New York Aquarium and working in the amusement area as a teen in the 1970's.  His first job was taking plush animals by handcart from the Surf Avenue warehouse of Harry ...
Content type: Oral History Item
"Hot Dog Queen" and Winner of the 1972 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest
For more than 40 years, Melody Andorfer worked as a registered nurse on the front lines at Elmhurst Hospital. She worked in the neo-natal intensive care unit, drug and alcohol rehab, the acute brain trauma unit, and also spent ten years as an...
Content type: Oral History Item
Reflections on running Wilensky Hardware, a 100-year-old family business on Mermaid Avenue
Wilensky Hardware on Mermaid Avenue is an anchor of the community and the oldest family-owned business in Coney Island. The store survived a century of urban renewal, arson, hurricanes, crime waves, and the civic neglect that led to the closing of...
Content type: Oral History Item
Collector of 1950's and '60s memorabilia whose Bensonhurst home is known as the Statue House
Steve Campanella is the owner of what's known as "The Bensonhurst Statue House" on 85th Street in Brooklyn.  The private home is locally famous for his collection of "life size personalities" outside as well as collectibles inside the home and...
Content type: Oral History Item
President of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club for the past 12 years and a member since the 1980s
Dennis Thomas, the president of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club for the past 12 years, shares memories of his first swim with the club - "That's crazy, I want to do it!"- and feeling drawn to the desolate yet haunting atmosphere of Coney Island in...
Content type: Oral History Item
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
Tai chi master who was born in China shares memories of practicing and teaching his art in Brooklyn
This interview was conducted in Mandarin Chinese with Master Lin by oral historian Yiyi Zhang  on May 6th 2019. This is an edited version of the interview due to the interruptions and length of the original one. Below is the interview’s description...
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