2000 - 2009

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
David Head tells the story of African-American inventor Granville T. Woods and his electric roller coaster
David Head is a retired NYC Transit worker and former chairman of the Black History Committee for TWU Local 100. Head has championed the accomplishments of Granville T. Woods (1856-1910) and has published a book and is working on a film documentary...
Content type: Oral History Item
Twenty years as part of the family at Gregory & Paul's and Paul's Daughter on the Coney Island Boardwalk
Gabriel Valencia has worked on the Coney Island Boardwalk at Gregory & Paul's eatery, now called Paul's Daughter, for 20 years. He came to New York from Puebla, Mexico when he was just 18 to join his brother. Valencia learned English little by...
Content type: Oral History Item
Ukrainian emigre writer and author of Stealing Cherries, a collection of flash fiction
Marina Rubin, the author of Stealing Cherries (2013), reads excerpts from her book of flash fiction, and talks about storytelling, poetry and the Russian Jewish immigrant experience. Born in the small town of Vinnitsa, Ukraine, she immigrated to the...
Content type: Oral History Item
Jamaican-born chef at Footprints Caribbean Cafe in Coney Island and originator of Rasta Pasta
Basil Jones is the chef at Footprints Cafe in Coney Island, which specializes in Caribbean cuisine, and is the originator of their famed Rasta Pasta. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised in St. Ann's Bay, Jones first learned to cook as a boy...
Content type: Oral History Item
Coney Island resident who moved here as a high school student talks about her neighborhood
Coney Island resident Theresa Giovinni moved here from Williamsburg as a high school student. When a class assignment to research the history of  her neighborhood came up, she chose Coney and learned about Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park...
Content type: Oral History Item
Mermaid Spa founder talks about bringing the Russian banya tradition to Coney Island
This interview was conducted and recorded in Russian. Read Mark Markov's transcript and translation below. A native of Kiev, Boris Kotlyar is one of the owners of Mermaid Spa, a Russian banya on Mermaid Avenue just outside of Sea Gate in Coney...
Content type: Oral History Item
Coney Island homeowner recalls fleeing Vietnam with his family in 1981 and settling in New York City
This interview was conducted and recorded in Cantonese Chinese. Read Audrey Tam's transcript and translation below.  Among the more than 800,000 refugees who fled Vietnam in the years after the fall of Hanoi and safely arrived in another country ...
Content type: Oral History Item
Mermaid Avenue pharmacist dispenses news and advice to new immigrants
Ho Cheung Li's J & R Pharmacy is on Mermaid Avenue at the corner of West 23rd Street in Coney Island. He and his family live upstairs.  Li emigrated from Hong Kong when he was in his 20s and spent more than four years in school to regain his...
Content type: Oral History Item