1980 - 1989

Brooklyn artist who emigrated from Russia as a child is drawn to Ocean Parkway and Brighton Beach
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1975, artist Alisa Minyukova emigrated to New York City with her mother and grandmother in 1981 and grew up on the Lower East Side. In a 2016 essay titled "Food Stamps and Caviar: How I moved to Brighton Beach," she...
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
Resident of Coney Island for 47 years and retired transit cleaner at Stillwell Terminal
Lorraine Ross recalls moving to Coney Island on April 1st, 1973,  never imagining she would stay so long. Now 72 and retired, she first lived in an apartment on West 36th Street, where she raised her sons, before moving to Gravesend Houses, where...
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
Calligrapher recounts his artistic journey from China's Guangdong Province to Brooklyn's Bensonhurst
This interview was conducted and recorded in Cantonese Chinese by (Sylvia) Ching Man Wong. Transcription by Ching Man Wong and Keenan Yutai Chen with English translation by Keenan Yutai Chen. Read the transcript and translation below:...
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
A poet and storyteller on growing up in Coney Island at Gravesend Houses, the beach and Astroland
Coney Island native Shavon Meyers is a photographer, visual artist, and storyteller who began writing poetry in 8th grade and realized her gift for rhyme with a poem about riding the D train.  Shavon shares childhood memories of growing up 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
Machinist at MTA's Coney Island Overhaul and Repair Shop and oldest active TWU Local 100 member
Frank Gurrera, 94, is a machinist at the MTA's Coney Island Overhaul and Repair Shop. He has worked there for 49 years and is the oldest active member of the Transport Workers Union, TWU Local 100.  "Sometimes they come up with the big parts,...
Content type: Oral History Item