Mermaid Avenue

Bus driver for 35 years on the B36 route and the shuttle bus inside Sea Gate
Born in 1953, Fred Stern recalls growing up on West 32nd Street in Coney Island, in a house next to Sam's Knishes, and going to the beach and spookhouses in the amusement area. In 1964, his family moved to neighboring Bath Beach, where he still...
Content type: Oral History Item
Growing up in Coney Island in the 1970s and being the third generation of his family to live here today
Orlando Mendez moved from Hell’s Kitchen to Coney Island as a toddler and lived with his extended family in a series of apartments on West 16th, West 20th, and West 29th Streets. In 1969, Mendez and his father and brother moved into Carey Gardens, a...
Content type: Oral History Item
Film director and screenwriter who grew up in Coney Island in the 1990s
"Coney Island made me who I am," says film director and screenwriter Stefon Bristol, who grew up in the 1990s on West 27th Street. His family moved from East Flatbush to Coney after buying one of the new townhouses built by Astella Development. He...
Content type: Oral History Item
Groundbreaking filmmaker grew up in Sea Gate and on Mermaid Avenue
Filmmaker Joyce Chopra grew up in Coney Island and Sea Gate in the 1930s and ‘40s. Her grandparents were the owners of Kalina's Baths on Surf Avenue at West 33rd Street. Chopra describes how she got the acting bug at Lincoln High School while...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of working a bread route on Coney Island's Mermaid Avenue in the 1950's and '60s
Charles Guariglia's father, Frank, was a "bread man" who delivered Stuhmer's kosher bread to the Jewish delicatessens and shops along Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island from 1947 to 1973. From age 9 until he was a freshman in college, Charles...
Content type: Oral History Item
Community activist and resident of Coney Island for more than 50 years
When this interview was recorded in 2007, Ron Stewart had lived in Coney Island for exactly half a century. He has worked as the director of a youth program and a parole officer, owned a local bookstore and barber shop, and is active in the...
Content type: Oral History Item
David Louie's family owned the popular Wah Mee Restaurant on Mermaid Avenue
David Louie's family owned the Wah Mee, a Chinese restaurant on Mermaid Avenue at 24th Street. The establishment opened in the 1940s and was an extremely popular destination for generations of Coney Island residents. David's father emigrated from...
Content type: Oral History Item
Her father, Anthony Cosmo Pomaro, owned Cosmo Topper's Beauty Parlor on Mermaid Avenue
Carole Scheer grew up in Coney Island and tells the story of her father, Anthony Cosmo Pomaro, who owned and operated Cosmo Topper's Beauty Parlor on Mermaid Avenue. After serving in the Air Force during WW II, he attended beauty school and opened...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of being one of the first families to move into Gravesend Houses in 1954 and growing up there
Born in Brooklyn in 1949, Barbara Unterman Jones remembers moving to Coney Island's Gravesend Houses with her family in 1954 when the public housing project was brand new. Her first memory is of the road still being under construction and resembling...
Content type: Oral History Item
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