Coney Island Stories

The Coney Island History Project Oral History Podcast


Season 1 Episode 8: Beach Days

Show Notes

On Memorial Day Weekend, lifeguards will once again be perched in their towers and New York City will celebrate the reopening of Coney Island's beach for swimming. Episode 8 shares the stories of days at the beach from the 1920s through the 1990s taken from the Coney Island History Project's Oral History Archive.

The stories include childhood memories of family outings, a hidden playground under the boardwalk, a lava hot spot on the sand, the knish man, teenage memories of daring swimsuits, summer jobs renting beach chairs and umbrellas, and working as a lifeguard. Memories span the 1920s, when beach goers were fined as much $5 each - the equivalent of $75 today - for walking on the boardwalk in bathing suits, to the 1990s, when “under the boardwalk” was filled in with sand and a way of life changed forever.

The oral histories in the podcast are with Joseph Albanese, Connie Scacciaferro, Richard Termini, Ron Vernon, Steve Larkin, and Crystal Isley. The interviews were conducted from 2009 to 2019 by Charles Denson, Amanda Deutch, Samira Tazari, and Tricia Vita. You can search and listen online to over 390 oral history interviews in our archive via This episode was produced by Charles Denson, Ali Lemer and Tricia Vita. Music by Blue Dot Sessions. 

Click through the slide show below to see the photos related to this episode while you're listening!

Photo credits: Top right, bottom left: Courtesy of Connie Scacciaferro. Bottom right: Coney Island History Project Collection.

©2021 The Coney Island History Project. All Rights Reserved.

This program is supported, in part, by funding from Humanities New York provided by the CARES Act and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Also supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger.