2000 - 2009

Founder and director of Brighton Ballet Theater, now celebrating its 30th year
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 for 43 years, community gardener and musician
Santos Torres has lived in Coney Island for 43 years, 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...
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
Founder and principal of Coney Island's Liberation Diploma Plus High School
April Leong is the award-winning founder and principal of Coney Island's Liberation Diploma Plus High School. The small alternative high school on West 19th Street serves 200 transfer students, many of whom describe it as their home or family. They...
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
UK illustrator based in Australia who created her own summer-long artist residency in Coney Island
In summer 2014, Australia-based illustrator  and artist Sarah Beetson created her own three month long artist residency in Coney Island, which she calls her "favorite place of inspiration." Beetson recounts short visits here -- the first was in 2002...
Content type: Oral History Item
New York Bread co-owner talks about baking 30 different kinds of Russian bread in Coney Island
Viktor Vassiliev is the co-owner with Gennadiy Verebeychik of New York Bread on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island. Founded 17 years ago, the bakery produces and sells 30 different kinds of European and Russian-style bread and ships its products to 35...
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
Growing up in Coney Island and becoming invested in the community
Native New Yorker Bonnie Kong has lived in Coney Island since she was ten.  In 2000, her parents, who had emigrated from China, bought a single family home as first-time home buyers and moved their family of five from an apartment on the Lower East...
Content type: Oral History Item