Frank Gerry, 69

Coney Island boardwalk

Frank Gerry
Frank Gerry

Photograph by Jay Muhlin

"The only place that has SPF 2 sunscreen is Walgreens, and I think even they might have discontinued it. It's Hawaiian Tropic, and it's $3.99."

Not to pry, but are you wearing SPF? Here's what I do—I call it "putting my makeup on." You see this balding spot? SPF 15 goes there. On my face is number 4. But this, on my body, is a number 2 sunscreen. I buy it by the case.

Number 2, huh? Why bother with sunscreen at all at that point? If I don't put the 2 on my body and I sit here for a day, I'll be in the hospital with a 102 temperature. It's amazing that just that little amount of stuff protects me.

Sounds like you have some sunbathing experience. Yep. Forty-five years I've been doing this.

Does anyone ever confuse you with the architect Frank Gehry? Once or twice. My ancestor, Elbridge Gerry, was the governor of Massachusetts and the fourth vice president of the U.S. under Madison. He's where the term gerrymandering came from.

What a claim to fame. And what'd it do for me? I still have to pay two dollars to get on the subway.

Bummer. No, I'm only joking. I'm very proud of it. And as for the architect, I do love beautiful buildings. In Manhattan, everything is straight. But Miami—the condos down there are out of this world.

You look a little like you belong in Miami. Nah. There's no place like the Coney Island boardwalk. It has everything! Every kind of food you'd wanna eat, every type of human being is here. If you don't see it here, it doesn't exist.

I don't know. I was looking for a salad and I couldn't seem to find one. See, that's what's gonna happen. They want to put in a place like T.G.I.F.—a little step up—to have better restaurants. But this is Coney Island. There's nothing on earth like this. Nothing else even comes close.--Kate Lowenstein