1980 - 1989

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
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
Coney Island handball champions Albert Apuzzi and Dori Ten on the mecca of handball
Husband and wife Albert Apuzzi and Dori Ten are one-wall handball champions who have long played at Coney Island's famed Seaside Courts, known as the mecca of handball. Apuzzi tells how he started playing handball in kindergarten when the game was...
Content type: Oral History Item
Working year-round at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park for 30 years
This interview was conducted and recorded in Spanish. Read Leslee Dean's transcript and translation below. Jorge "Chico" Gallegos is a native of Ecuador who lives in Coney Island and has been working at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park since 1986. Having...
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
Longtime Coney Island resident and cinematographer for a series of indie films shot here
Martine Emile grew up in Coney Island after moving to Sea Rise apartments with her family in 1984. Her interest in photography was sparked at a young age with the gift of a camera from her father. Photography programs for teens in the community and ...
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