1980 - 1989

Longtime baseball scout for the Chicago Cubs and Sea Gate resident
Billy Blitzer grew up in Brighton Beach, has lived in Sea Gate for the past 36 years, and is a pro scout for the Chicago Cubs.  Baseball has been an integral part of his life since he played Little League at Coney Island's Kaiser Park and with his...
Content type: Oral History Item
Sign-painting legend, musician and Sea Gate resident
Sea Gate resident Sam Moses, 66, is one of Coney Island's finest sign painters. He shares memories of his boyhood apprenticeship at a sign shop in East New York and his dreams of painting in Coney Island.  In 1998, he moved to Sea Gate and started...
Content type: Oral History Item
Grandson of sword swallower Joseph "Ajax" Milana and DeWise Purdin "The Handless Sharpshooter"
Van Milana, 65, was born on Dewey Place in the area of Coney Island called "The Gut" before Trump Village and Warbasse. He shares memories of both of his grandfathers, who were famous sideshow performers in Coney Island. Milana recalls his paternal...
Content type: Oral History Item
Environmental justice organizer who was born in Coney Island and raised here in the 1960s and '70s
Born in Coney Island in 1963, Karen Dawn Blondel shares memories of the 1960's, '70s and '80s. Family members, including both sets of grandparents, aunts, and cousins lived in the community in bungalows, apartments, and public housing, and after her...
Content type: Oral History Item
Three-time International Jugglers Association champion and resident of Southern Brooklyn
Gerald Greenberg, whose professional name is Jay Green, was born in 1937 and lives in Southern Brooklyn. A three-time International Jugglers Association champion, he is best known for the innovative props he has created, including the first modern,...
Content type: Oral History Item
Sea Gate resident on her girlhood memories of Coney Island and passing them on to her daughter
Currently a resident of Sea Gate, Irene Karas was born in Belgium and grew up in Bensonhurst and on Ocean Parkway. She recalls excursions to Coney Island beach with her family.  As a young girl, Irene would "roam all of the nooks and crannies of...
Content type: Oral History Item
Architect who grew up in Coney Island in the 1980s and designed the renovated Ruby's Bar & Grill
Eric Safyan grew up in Coney Island's Brightwater Towers overlooking the Aquarium. His parents were political refugees who emigrated from Odessa in Ukraine when he was 3-1/2 years old. After graduating from Brooklyn Tech and architecture school in...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up on Mermaid Avenue and working games in Coney Island from age twelve
Michael Goldstein,  known as "Looch," worked games in Coney Island for over half a century. He started out in 1954 at age twelve, earning 75 cents an hour, and by his fourth year was a partner in the game. "It was a different era, a different...
Content type: Oral History Item
On growing up in Coney Island in the 1940s and the history of Greek-American businesses in the area
Father Eugene Pappas, the pastor of Southern Brooklyn's Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church for the past 35 years, shares his memories of Coney Island, where he was born in 1940. His family lived at 2812 Stillwell Avenue across from the subway...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up in Coney Island in the 1980s and '90s and Faber's Fascination Arcade
Jeffrey L. Wilson is a Senior Software Analyst at PC Magazine, where he writes about video games, mobile apps, and other tech subjects. He shares memories of growing up in Coney Island, where his family moved to O'Dwyer Gardens from Flatbush in 1986...
Content type: Oral History Item