Coney Island Stories

The Coney Island History Project Oral History Podcast


Season 1 Episode 9: Love and Marriage

Show Notes

Episode 9 features the stories of couples who met, got engaged or married in Coney Island, all taken from the History Project’s oral history archive. Visitors to our exhibition center often tell us that they or their parents or grandparents met or had their first date in Coney Island. Over the years, we’ve witnessed marriage proposals on the Wonder Wheel and weddings and wedding party rides on the Cyclone roller coaster. 

Many a Coney Island courtship of the 20th century began on the beach and continued with a stroll on the boardwalk and ride on the Steeplechase horses. Steeplechase Park founder George C. Tilyou famously observed of his mechanical horse race ride that “the young men like it because it gives them a chance to hug the girls; the girls like it, because it gives them a chance to get hugged.” 

The oral histories in the podcast are with Ellen Abrams, Michael Liff, Max and Stef, Tara Altebrando, Gina Femia, and The Reverend Cliff Herring. The interviews were conducted by Charles Denson, Katya Kumkova, Ali Lemer and Tricia Vita between 2014 and 2021. You can search and listen online to over 390 oral history interviews, including the ones featured in this podcast, 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, Engagement photo of Gina and Freddy by Jody Christopherson. Courtesy of Gina Femia. Bottom left and right, Coney Island History Project Collection.

©2021 The Coney Island History Project. All Rights Reserved. This program is supported, in part, by funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger.