1970 - 1979

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, founded in 1987
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
Revisiting the Spook-A-Rama and Wonder Wheel of his boyhood
Michael Borruto shared his memories of riding Spook-A-Rama and the Wonder Wheel as a 10-year-old. On an August 2016 visit to Coney Island with his wife and friends, he wanted to revisit and ride Spook-A-Rama. "I didn't even know it was still there...
Content type: Oral History Item
Coney Island resident since the 1970s, community gardener and musician
Santos Torres has lived in Coney Island since 1973, tends the Santos White Community Garden, and plays music on the Boardwalk during the summer.  Located on Mermaid Avenue, the garden was founded in 1995 and is part of the City's GreenThumb network...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of Coney Island in the 1930s and '40s and growing up in Brooklyn in an Italian family
Commendatore Aldo Mancusi, the founder of the Enrico Caruso Museum of America, brings his Hofbauer street organ from the museum to our annual Coney Island History Day celebrations. Born in 1929, Mancusi shares his memories of coming to Coney Island...
Content type: Oral History Item
A family tradition of raising and racing homing pigeons in Coney Island
For Anthony Martire, owner of Larry's Auto Radiator Shop on Neptune Avenue, the pigeon coops on his roof are a family tradition. His father, who was born and raised on 16th Street in Coney Island, began raising and racing homing pigeons in 1947. He...
Content type: Oral History Item
Coney Island resident Georganna Deas has spent forty years advocating for a better Coney Island
Economic development specialist Georganna Deas is a Coney Island resident and advocate who has lived in the Gravesend Houses on Kaiser Park for forty years.  After moving here in 1977, she worked with Coney Island Pride and then with Astella...
Content type: Oral History Item