Brighton Memoirs


Please share your Brighton Memories with us. You can send them through our Contact us page. If you like we will publish them for all to read.


L.Brockway - I was born in Cuba in 1952 and my parents moved to Brighton 5th St in 1953 from there we moved to 3rd St. My two brothers were born in Coney Island Hospital. We lived there till 1961 ( back to Cuba ) then back to U.S. in 1968 I always wanted to return. Started school at Reynolds first went to P.S. 253 did some time in Lincoln and Arasmas. I worked first in Speedway supermarket then Speedway Pharmacy I sold cosmetics. I Love Brighton Beach and continue to go back, I now live in Florida. My best years .....all the years and memories that I have. THANK YOU BRIGHTON BEACH!! 06/11

R.Brousseau - I use to come down to the Brighton Bowl from the Bronx and meet my friends from the Westside of Manhattan and hang out on the beach opposite the bowl & "The Baths". The girl I was seeing was Shelly and her girlfriends from the area who knew Neil Sadaka and would harmonize for him. They were helped/couched along by the Crystal chords of the upper Westside of Manhattan. This was circa 1958ish. Good memories! 04/14


D.Yi - I was born in Coney Island Hospital on July 21st 1956. I lived at 312 Brighton Beach Ave with my family until 1977. My parents continued living there until 1985. My parents moved to 3055 Brighton 3rd St. when they arrived from Cuba for the first time. I have wonderful memories of Brighton, I had lots of fun growing up with my friends. I attended P.S. 253 then to James J. Reynolds Jr. High and then I went to Abraham Lincoln High School. I also went to Our Guardian Angel Church where I did my Holy Communion and my Confirmation. Those were such different times. Things were very peaceful and wonderful back then. The people living in Brighton at that time were just wonderful people. I miss those times. I'm 53 years old now, but I loved my childhood. 05/10
G.Bentley - I moved to Brighton Beach when I was five years old from Harlem back in 1979. My parents and I moved into Seacoast Terrace. I loved growing up across the street from the beach. I went to PS 225, PS 100, JHS 303 and Lincoln. My friends and I loved riding our bikes on the boardwalk to Coney Island and back, going to play games at Captains Quarters. The Zei-Mar was my dads favorite place to go get Matzo ball soup and Carvel was my favorite place for ice cream after going to the movies at the Oceana. My daughter is three and she sees pictures of the old neighborhood and wants to go to the beach so when she turns four I am going to let her have fun out on the beach like her old man. 09/09

M.Rosen-Fine - My parents, Max & Sonia Rosen, moved to the "Roosevelt"-3115 Brighton 4th St. which had lockers in the basement one block from the boardwalk when I was 4 yrs old in 1940. Russian & Yiddish & heavily-accented English was the comforting sound plus foreign songs. Most Brightoners were not foreign at that time & additionally my parents were 40 when I was born so their group was older than my school friends' parents. Summer on the boardwalk I watched fireworks & people in the woven cane push chairs. Dad & I often went out early morning to swim & look at the sea on bay 4 on weekends or at 5pm on week days when he'd get home from his sweaty housepainting job. As a working man with little extra cash he often said "I did a good thing when we moved here Malinka--it's a worker's paradise." It was. To such a degree did I adore the summer breezes the sultry contrast with the cold Atlantic in which I learned to swim by age 6. That in 2001 before it was built I & my husband bought our condo at the newly-opened OCEANA APTS which we treat as our summer vacation home while living in Manhattan year 'round as well. I recall Meyer's Ice cream parlor near 7th st where friends went for tuna fish sandwiches & malteds; the Ideal Chinese restaurant next to it where most Sundays my family ate exotic Lobster Cantonese & chose 2 from column A & 1 from column B. The food came in raised dishes with silvery metal covers. I went to plays at a theatre on Ocean Parkway movies at the Lakeland --a dinkier cheaper-than-Tuxedo-or-Oceana on the Avenue at 3rd street which showed 2 features newsreels & shorts for 35 cents! At 4th st at the corner candy store I ate mellorolls & penny candies; at the corner toy shop I stood for chunks of time just looking. In winter my friend Nina & I walked the snowy beach listening to our crunching boots & laughing. When I was in 3rd grade at PS 253 a huge snow storm kept many kids home but not me. My teacher with the red hair whom I loved: Mrs. Glantz gave me homework packages to take to them. Once a rainstorm caused the Ocean to flood the beach (much smaller then) and onto my street. My parents: Sonia & Moisey (Max)lived in Apt 6K until they died in 1986 at age 90. Max Rosen was an activist in the local community affairs & in his Painters' Union. Brighton is in my blood on my skin in my nostrils---the aroma of the sea." 08/09

M.Greenfield - My memories of Brighton are very clouded, as I was only there from ages 3-5. My grandparents lived on Brighton 12th St, across from the playground of an elentary school. Vague memories of Mrs. Stahls, and the BIG fan on top of the door wafting out delicious scents. A few doors down was a toy store. I have a nice picture I'd like to post, but don't see any place to do it. 08/09


B.Weiss – I was born on Brightwater Court in 1935 on a day which saw a violent thunderstorm which unfortunately killed some people on the beach…Not an auspicious event to herald my arrival. I attended PS 225 on Brighton 12-13 street and Ocean View Avenue: watched Luna Park burn from the roof of our apartment house; did our part for the war effort by bringing empty toothpaste tubes to Radin’s pharmacy on Brighton Beach Avenue, purchased war bond stamps at block parties on Brighton 11th st, broke my arm roller skating at the Brighton Beach Baths, graduated Abraham Lincoln High School, and left Brighton in 1953 when I entered the army. I still visit (and I love it) – My 91 year old mother still lives there. 06/00

E.Smith - I was born and raised in Brighton Beach.  My Father was the bartender at Manhatten Bar (Jimmie Smith or Smitty as the neighborhood knew him as), and my Mother(Linnie) worked at Shoreview Nursing Home. Fond memories of Mrs. Stahls, Candy Corner, Brighton Beach Baths(when my brothers and I could sneak in without getting caught. I went to P.S 253, 225, Reynolds and Lincoln.  I had the best childhood a child could ask for, growing up in Brighton Beach. Although Brighton has grown or changed from what I remember, I will always remember, where I came from, and keep within my heart and soul, my fond memories of Brighton Beach. 08/09


E. Strum - My parents came to Brighton Beach over 100 years ago, from Austria and Hungry. I have fond memories going to Nathan's and George C. Tillouse Steeplechase. 4/08

P.S. Angelo-Howard - I remember riding through Brighton Beach on my way to work with my dad and always wanting to live there with the street vendors and the delicious food aromas! 12/08




E.Zelda - In late 30's early 40's I was a teenager living not far from Brighton Beach. since it was the time of the depression, we children had no where to go for teh summer except the beach. Bringing our lunch and given a nickle for the day, we descended upon Brighton Beach for a day of fun at the waterfront. We were all in the same boat and we made the most of it. There are fond memories of the days we spent at the beach. Some of us made lifelong marriages, others remained friends for a lifetime. no matter how old we are we will always remember the time we had meeting at our regular hangout at Ocean Parkway on the beach. Thank You for letting me share a little nostalgia. 07/00

D. Martinez - I was born in Coney Island Hospital in 1960. I first lived on Brighton 3rd, between Neptune Ave and Shore Parkway where the mounted police stables are located. Moved in 1963 to Ocean Parkway between Ocean View Ave and Brighton Beach Ave and lived there for about 20 years. I went to PS 253, Reynolds JHS 43, Lincoln HS. During Public school I remember the closing of Brighton Beach Ave from Coney Island Ave all the way to Ocean Parkway. I believed they called it "Operation Main Street". They had singing, marching, Carvel even sponsored an ice cream eating contest. That was fun. I also loved going to the beach during the summer and laying out in Bay 7th. I also worked on the beach selling pretzels and soda. Some of the stores I remember growing up in Brighton were Berta's, The Forty thieves, Lu Lu's which by the wayhad one of the best Knishes next to Mrs. Stahls. The Candy Corner on brighton 6th street is also another store where durning lunch at PS 253 we would go and buy some goodies to bring back to school. I worked at Colony Hardware and Youth World, where you could get everything from school supplies to games and toys. There was a slot car racing store in which you would race cars. Buster brown shoe store also brings back memories. Kings Fish Market, Lai Lai's chinese take out. The Oceana movie theatre where the proce of admission when I was growing was .75 cents.  The Brighton Baths where you could swin in a salt water pool. Aufrichtig's supermarket. Speedway supermarket and drug store. Rocco's pizzaria who had the best tasting pizza for .25 cents, then you could buy an icy for .10 cents. Growing up in Brighton Beach were one of my Happiest times of my life. Would I ever do it again? You bet I would. 09/00 


S.Katz – I grew up in Brighton. I went to PS 253, Lincoln High School, Kingsborough Community College and Brooklyn College. Forty summers ago I was 5 years old soon to be 6. my mother, father, sister, grandmother, grandfather, aunts, uncles, cousins, spent every summer day on the beach at 5th street. I have many memories, but I enjoy my memories of the ice cream man who sold his wares from the large boxes that he carried over his shoulder. The summers always seemed very hot, and us kids looked forward to the afternoon when our mothers would tell us to listen for the ice cream man. We would sit quietly until we heard “Ice Cream. Get your Good Humor Ice Cream heeereeea. Ice cream, orange drinks. Get your Good Humor ice cream heeerea!” We would all scream and our mothers, always the mothers, would call the man over. “Ice cream. Here here!” my mother and aunt would shout. The man would arrive. It was always a black man. He wore heavy black shoes, and khaki pants. He’d put his large crates filled wit ice cream down at his side. A large white handkerchief would appear in his hand and he would mop his sweaty face with it. His face shined from the sweat. “What kind of ice cream do you have? We asked. “well, chocolate, eclairs, fudgecicles, strawberry, vanilla…” He would list all his wares. We made our selections, all different, so we can get a lick of each others’ flavors. As the ice cream man opened the box, white smoke would spill out from it. “That’s from the dry ice” my father told me. The ice cream man would shift around the contents of the box until he found our choices. Our mothers paid him. He took a last glance around our family circle, pull the handkerchief out for a last wipe, hoisted up the boxes with a grunt, and walk away. As all the cousins at the ice cream, the man started his chant again. “Ice Cream. Get your Good Humor Ice Cream heeereeea” I would sit and listen as his cries faded in the distance. Then I would faintly hear another mother call out. “Ice cream. Ice cream here here!”. And she would ask him what kind of flavors he had. I remember this like it was yesterday. My parents are dead, along with my grandparents and my aunt, I’ve long lost contact with my cousins, and I wonder where the ice cream man is, but, in my mind, those lost days of summer are always with me. 11/98

 

 

J.Osbourne - I was born in 1947 and lived in the same house on Brighton 1st until I got married in 1967, I went to PS 253 for K-6 and then from 7 & 8 went to PS 100 and then to Lincoln as a freshman. Leo was the name of the crossing guard at Lincoln, then. He caught me jaywalking the first week of HS. We went to Tuxedo theater on Saturday and watched a zillion cartoons and then a movie. The Tuxedo is now co-op apts. Lulu’s deli was on Brighton Beach Ave and Ocean Parkway. Best hot dogs and sauerkraut. They had those flat potato knishes. Mrs. Stahl’s had the puffy round ones. The Oceana movies was at Coney Island Ave. Near the butcher Neil Diamond lived above. It’s hard to stop once I start talking about Brighton Beach. The best time living at the beach was in the winter. Cause in the summer it’s so crowded. I bet that hasn’t changed. You could make it from the boardwalk to water without once stepping on sand for all the blankets on the beach. I loved going to watch the polar bear club swimming in the winter. We used to think what a crazy bunch of old folks they were. They probably lived till 100. I would be pleased to see your stories about the neighborhood. 01/97