The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is the quintessential way to kick of the summer in New York City. Held every year on the first Saturday of summer, the parade celebrates Coney Island and all the fun that it represents. Each year it is a bit different, but every year includes a few consistencies. There will be mermaids celebrating in various states of undress. There will be body paint. There will be kids dressed up as pirates and mermaids. There will be folks who put a LOT of effort into building floats and others who show up as they are and walk just for the fun of it. Spectators get in on the act too, with many in the crowd dressed up for the celebration.
I wandered amongst the crowd during the pre-parade festivities capturing the scenes of folks prepping for the show and otherwise enjoying the first day of summer.
Lots more fun during the parade as well.
One thing that the parade always benefits from is that there are plenty of people in New York City who aren’t afraid to show off their wild or creative side, especially if it is out in public with a few thousand spectators. And this year’s parade was no exception.
One of the most impressive performances was from a troupe of hula hoopers. Not only could they hula, but they also managed to do it while walking in the parade, which was quite amazing to me.
This float was pretty amazing. The sea horse was set up to spray water for added fun.
And a number of participants used the parade as an opportunity to speak out on various issues, ranging from the war in Iraq to the planned redevelopment of Coney Island that will be effectively ripping out the boardwalk, the arcades and the attractions to make way for residential and commercial development. These women represented the three main attractions that are likely to suffer at the hands of the developers, the Cyclone, the Parachute Drop and Wonder Wheel.
I took a ton more photos, many of which are available here. It is truly a great experience and highly recommended. Be sure to wear sunscreen; I’m fighting of a bit of sunburn, and I’m sure several of the participants are too based on their very limited costume coverage.
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