Mermaid Parade!

Saturday’s Mermaid Parade at Coney Island was fabulous. Despite the heat, the mermaids turned out in droves – on the backs of cars and floats, on bikes and rollerskates, and walking, of course. One toddler mermaid pooped out on the back of his red wagon before the parade had really gotten under way, and giggling girls ran out into the middle of the road with their digital cameras to take his picture before he woke up. For the rest of us who stayed awake enough to enjoy it, there were plenty of delights, not the least of which was the ice cream cone I bought when it was over.

The Parade started with classic cars, some restored to better condition than others. My favorite moment during this leg was when, in the midst of old Chryslers and Mustangs, etc., an ordinary minivan – no decorations, and certainly not a “classic” by any means – drove by, containing, it appeared, an ordinary, uncostumed family. Around me, the cheers went up. “Yeah, minivan! I love minivans!” The minivan got way more applause than the nautically-themed hearse, filled with ghoulish mermaids and pirates, that drove by a few minutes later.

Then there were floats, and then the walking (or roller-skating) mermaids – many scantily clad, a few wearing body paint instead of actual clothing. There were a number of women wearing pasties instead of tops, which provoked “young people today!”-type comments from an older couple standing near me.

After the parade the mermaids and their friends gathered on the boardwalk to drink mixed drinks out of those long tubey cups, eat Nathan’s hot dogs, and soak up the sun. The King and Queen, David Johansen and Karmen Guy, led a procession down to the water, where winter was officially chased away.

I had organized a group of friends to attend, all of whom flaked out on me before the weekend. So it was just me with my SPF 30. The benefit of being alone is the ability to eavesdrop much more easily on the conversations around you.

Overheard at the Mermaid Parade:
(regarding a float of young people, bearing the sign “Young Yacht Owners of America.”)
Mermaid Girl: Young Yacht OWNERS? Fuck you! I can barely pay my rent!

I hear that. For all who missed it, pictures and lists of winners should be coming soon here: http://www.coneyisland.com/mermaid.shtml

But why wait until next year? Coney Island is a great day-trip, only an hour on the subway from Manhattan (or half an hour from Park Slope), cheap as all hell, and full of “local color.” And the aquarium is great.

Take the D/F/N/Q to the newly-restored Stillwell Ave stop. And definitely get the cheese fries.

2 Comments so far

  1. Anna (unregistered) on June 27th, 2005 @ 11:44 am

    whoo pasties! cheese fries! nathan’s! minigolf! contaminated water! immigrant families with boomboxes on the beach!

    how i love coney island.


  2. ladyJ (unregistered) on July 8th, 2005 @ 11:59 am

    Young Yacht Owners of America has nothing to do with owning an actual yacht but instead a frame of mind….google it.



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