What is Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade?
This isn’t yo mamma’s Macy’s Day Parade. This is the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. It is an event of mythic proportions. An adventure into strange and good ole’ fashioned family fun. It is as unique as Coney Island itself.
Flashes of neon, the occasional booby, and splash the shores of Coney Island. Women dressed as mermaids and men dressed as mythic gods trounce and dance the streets. Old cars roar onto the scene. Bodypaint. Superheroes. Monsters. Shine, shine, shine.
Mermaid Parade in NYC
It marks the beginning of summer. It is a celebration of art and New York lifestyle. The parade began in 1983. It acts as the spiritual successor of the Mardi Gras parades Coney Island held one hundred years ago.
It’s kind of like Halloween in summer. Everyone gets into the festival spirit bringing the guns out. The parade starts at 1 pm on June 21st.
What will I see?
You’ll get to see hot rods, muscle cars, and even a DeLorean. In addition, you’ll get to see cheerleaders, bagpipe players, and cartoon characters. You’ll get to see pirates, mermaids (of course, I already said that), and the king and queen of the parade. You can even bribe the judges with booze and candy.
The two main places to watch the parade are Surf Avenue and the boardwalk. Surf Avenue will be busier, but that’s because it’s where the vintage cars and motorized floats are. The parade ends at Steeplechase plaza, where a clown with a menacing grin once welcomed visitors into a world of strange over fifty years ago. It is an appropriate ending as if the craziness of the parade were swallowed back into the mouth of the clown, an invisible black hole, to return to whence it came, back to the world of strange.
The Mermaid Parade is the largest art parade in America. Its message is clear: culture—whether from this country or another, high or low, known or small—is welcome and celebrated.