Steeplechase Park

Memories of growing up on West 29th Street and meeting her lifeguard husband on Coney Island Beach
Ellen Abrams' earliest memory is sitting in a wicker carriage and being taken for a stroll on the boardwalk by her mother and grandmother. Growing up in Coney Island in the 1940s and '50s, Ellen enjoyed birthday parties every July on the beach and ...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of working on the Coney Island Parachute Jump's operation crew at age 16
Ralph Avella was the youngest member of the Coney Island Parachute Jump's operation crew. Bensonhurst native Avella was sixteen years old when he began working on the landmark ride in 1961 after graduating from Brooklyn Technical High School. This...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of having a season locker at Ravenhall and Washington Baths Annex in the 1950s and '60s
Raised in Bay Ridge, Natalie Johnson has memories of going to Ravenhall Baths and Washington Baths Annex in the 1950's and 60s. From the time she was eight, her family had a season locker at Ravenhall until it closed after a 1963 fire. As a teen,...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of visiting Uncle Pete, who ran a food concession at Steeplechase Pool in the 1930s-50s
Born in 1926, Nancy Gabriel grew up in Staten Island and visited Coney Island frequently with her parents throughout her childhood. Her great uncle, Peter Lazaris, ran a food concession under the Boardwalk and later at the Steeplechase Pool, from...
Content type: Oral History Item
Greg Birbil's father, Paul, was a candy maker who owned the Paradise Ice Cream Parlor on Surf Avenue
Founded in 1928, the Paradise Ice Cream Parlor, also known as the Paradise Luncheonette, was a fixture at 1605 Surf Avenue across from Steeplechase Park for more than 30 years. Greg Birbil, who was born in 1937, shares memories of growing up in "Pop...
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
Memories of bus trips to Coney Island with the Good Will Family Club from the 1940's through 1961
From the 1940s through the 1970s, bus trips to Coney Island were so popular that concessionaires recall 50 to 100 buses arriving on Saturday mornings and staying till 6 or 7 at night.  Growing up in a close-knit family in Philadelphia, Alonzo...
Content type: Oral History Item
Memories of operating Steeplechase Park's Sports Car ride in 1963-1964 and fighting the Ravenhall fire
Born in 1946, Jim Lucarelli grew up in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. He describes "the opportunity and the privilege" of working at Coney Island's Steeplechase Park in 1963 and 1964, the last two summers before the park closed.  As a 16-year-old ride...
Content type: Oral History Item
Artist who grew up in Coney Island and whose artwork celebrates his Mohawk iron worker ancestry
Born in 1942 and raised in Coney Island, Native American artist Richard Glazer-Danay is of Kahnawake (Caughnawaga) Mohawk and Jewish descent. His family first came to Coney Island with circuses and Wild West shows in the late 1800's and early 1900's...
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