Coney Island Beach

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
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 Islander, musician/songwriter in alt-rock band Newborn, lifeguard
Allen James grew up on West 5th Street in Coney Island, which he describes as near the border of Brighton Beach and "the best of both worlds," noting that "it was the perfect place to grow up as a kid in Brooklyn." He still lives in the neighborhood...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up in Coney Island Houses in the 1980s and '90s
Crystal Isley recalls the excitement of moving to Coney Island Houses from Williamsburg with her family on the day before her fifth birthday. With her bedroom window overlooking the beach and the sounds of the ocean lulling her to sleep, "I felt it...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of going to Coney Island Beach as a child in the 1930's and a teenager in the '40s
Born in 1932, Connie Scacciaferro grew up in Ridgewood and enjoyed outings to Coney Island Beach as a young girl. "Anybody that could carry a shopping bag when we were little, carried a shopping bag on the train to the beach," she says of taking the...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up on Brighton First Court and a summer job renting beach chairs in Coney Island
Bill Zeidenberg grew up in the 1950s and 1960s at 212 Brighton First Court, just east of Ocean Parkway, the dividing line of Coney Island and Brighton Beach. He shares vivid memories of his summer job working for the M. & C. Chair Operating...
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
Memories of Coney Island in the 1920s and '30s
Born in Harlem, Ida Rosenblum Gambrell, now 94,  spent her childhood summers in Coney Island at her aunt's home on Surf Avenue and West 24th Street. Ida recalls her mother giving her and her sister 20 cents to take the train from 103rd Street to...
Content type: Oral History Item
Girlhood memories of growing up on West 5th Street in Coney Island before being displaced by Warbasse
Sisters Gladys Sandman and Lucille daCosta, née Salvia, share girlhood memories of growing up on Coney Island's West 5th Street in the 1950s and the beginning of the '60s. Their grandparents were homeowners on West 5th and their mother and father ...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of growing up on West 33rd Street in Coney Island and working on the Boardwalk in the 1960s
Al Burgo, who grew up in Gravesend Houses in Coney Island's West End, shares memories of street games and streetwise hijinks in the 1960s. As a boy, he earned 15 cents per shine while apprenticing with a shoe shine pro on the Boardwalk, an...
Content type: Oral History Item