2000 - 2009

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
Artist whose watercolors of the Astroland Rocket and Wonder Wheel sign are emblematic of Coney Island
Watercolor artist Frederick Brosen is a native New Yorker whose boyhood memories include Steeplechase's revolving barrel at the park's entrance, wooden slide, and horse race ride.  As a father, he rediscovered the joy of Coney Island through a...
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
Brooklyn-born playwright on her plays set in Coney Island and a marriage proposal on the beach
Brooklyn born and based playwright Gina Femia has written 32 full-length plays, including three set in various locations in Coney Island, from the playgrounds of the projects to the Wonder Wheel. Among them are The Mermaids' Parade (2015-2016) and...
Content type: Oral History Item
Ride operator at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park for 11 years and Michael Jackson impressionist
Robert Serrano, Jr. has been working at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park for the past 11 years and says he can't wait for the park's celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Wonder Wheel in 2020.  As a ride operator, his favorite ride to operate is the...
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
Coney Island homeowner for 19 years enjoys organic gardening and walking on the boardwalk
This interview was conducted and recorded in Mandarin Chinese. Read Yolanda Zhang's transcript and translation below: 本采访以国语进行并记录下来。以下请阅读张月恒的笔录和翻译。 Linda Zhang was born in 1967 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of the People's Republic of China....
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