Life Writing

Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade

June 22, 2015

SATURDAY, JUNE 20, 2015 — Ever since Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Splash, I have loved mermaids and to this day, still whole-heartedly believe in them. Or, at least, wish I could be one, ha. So when I heard about Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade, I knew it was something I had to attend. And this year, I did.

First, here’s a little background on the parade. The Mermaid Parade was founded in 1983 and remains the largest art parade in the nation. According to the parade’s official website, the event has three goals:

[I]t brings mythology to life for local residents who live on streets named Mermaid and Neptune ; it creates self-esteem in a district that is often disregarded as “entertainment”; and it lets artistic New Yorkers find self-expression in public.

After a few train delays and transfers, I met up with one of my best friends who was also a Coney Island/Mermaid Parade newbie. It was overcast and drizzling off-and-on, but we actually enjoyed it and thought the gray weather added to the mood. As soon as we set foot on the island, we were immediately greeted by hundreds of eager attendees, some dressed up, others not. Before finding a spot to view the parade, we wandered the grounds and took in the colors and lights of the rides and games. There was a sort of magic in the air, both from the excitement for the parade and from the island’s attractions. It certainly didn’t hurt that, in the distance, the tide rolled in and out, and the seagulls were coasting through the air. Picturesque, indeed.

After devouring a couple of amazing corn dogs from Paul’s Daughter, we found a spot along the boardwalk to watch the parade. The rain had stopped at this point, so we were free to enjoy the mermaids, pirates, seahorses, and dancers without fumbling with our umbrellas. We had a great time looking at everyone’s costumes and ooh-ing and ah-ing over the smaller floats. We were told the parade started up on the boardwalk and then wrapped around to the main streets, but it turns out that wasn’t true. Still, this mini-parade was a blast. Instead of me trying to describe everything, here are a few photos I took throughout the day:

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All photos by DJ DeSmyter. Please do not reuse.

Overall, I had a spectacular time and the parade was basically a dream come true, and I can’t wait to back to Coney Island to ride the rides and eat more corn dogs!

  • Reply
    Susan Hufnagel
    June 22, 2015 at 11:48 am

    DJ, What a fun trip with so many bright colors everywhere you turned. Coney Island, itself, is pretty cool. There seemed to be a real sense of community among the crowd…loved the white Navy seamen uniforms which kind of added to the theme. Cool guy in the blue t-shirt that stood above the crowd…wonder why you snapped that pic? 🙂 So many of the things you do and talk about in NYC sound like such a blast. What an interesting place to live, especially as a young single guy. Me, I would love to be a visitor, but the Midwest is more my style. Thanks for sharing, nice post.

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