1980 - 1989

Longtime Sea Gate resident and watercolor artist who teaches at Seaside Innovative Senior Center
Jeffrey Berman, 77, is a Coney Island native who has lived in Sea Gate since establishing his first artist's studio here when he was in his 30s. He recounts how he got interested in art and studied drawing at the Art Students League for 2-1/2 years...
Content type: Oral History Item
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
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 immigrated 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,"...
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
Memories of growing up in Coney Island Houses in the 1980s and '90s
Crystal Isley recalls the excitement of moving to Coney Island Houses from Williamsburg with her family on the day before her fifth birthday. With her bedroom window overlooking the beach and the sounds of the ocean lulling her to sleep, "I felt it...
Content type: Oral History Item