You know that summer is here in NYC when Manhattan empties out on Friday evening with the rush of people to the Hamptons and the Jersey Shore–and The Coney Island Mermaid Parade swims down Surf Avenue in–where else?–Coney Island.
This year The Coney Island Mermaid Parade celebrated its 30th anniversary on June 23. Part art parade with a Mardi Gras feel, the Coney Island Mermaid parade has its roots in the Coney Island Mardi Gras, which was held for nearly 50 years in the early 1900’s.
If you come to watch the Coney Island Parade, you’ll find certain attributes you don’t see in most NYC parades: home-made costumes and floats abound. And this being an art parade featuring mermaids and mermen–there are plenty of parade participants who hew to authenticity–so there’s definitely some “skin in this game” though it tends to be tastefully done; lots of body paint and pasties abound. But you’ll find plenty of small kids marching with their parents as well as families with kids viewing from the sidewalks.
There’s truly nothing like watching the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. It’s an experience unto itself that’s second only to the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. Check out the slideshow below and see for yourself. And welcome to Summer in the City!