3 Reasons to Rendezvous At The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Coney Island Mermaid Parade Rendezvous En New York

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade happened on June 17th, it was the 35th anniversary of the parade and the 90th anniversary of the Cyclone wooden rollercoaster. It was my first time attending this Summer tradition at Coney Island. Unfortunately, the weather was not my friend and made sure that I knew it. It poured so hard, that I’m sure some people in Queens were planning to build another ark. I was meeting Becca from Tea With B Blog and Lynn and Justin from MadHattersNYC, in Coney Island and they were already braving the monsoon. I was late to the being soaked party but I got my portion of the soak-ation. I didn’t have my good camera, unfortunately, that has to be repaired. But I did get some shots on my phone but it didn’t last the whole parade because I had the GPS on! Such an unprofessional blogger!! I know I’m slacking, forgive me.


What Is the Coney Island Mermaid Parade About Anyway?

it is a parade that happens yearly around the beginning of Summer, it incorporates mythology, and carnival themes in a distinctly New York way and ends on the Coney Island Boardwalk. I guess to return the mermaids to the sea, maybe? And for us to enjoy the park.  From the parade’s web page it further explains the theme of the parade like this”

The MERMAID PARADE specifically was founded in 1983 with 3 goals: it 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.

Unlike most parades, this one has no ethnic, religious, or commercial aims. It’s a major New York holiday invented by artists! An American version of the summer-solstice celebration, it takes pride of place with West African Water Festivals and Ancient Greek and Roman street theater. It’s features participants dressed in hand-made costumes based on themes and categories set by us. This creates an artistic framework on which artists can improvise, resulting in the flourishing of frivolity, dedication, pride, and personal vision that has become how New York celebrates summer.

Here Are My Reasons For Seeing the Coney Island Mermaid Parade

  1. The creativity of the costumes only rivals Halloween, in fact, Lynn and I commented on how some of the costumes could have been recycled (very ingeniously from Halloween because they were so topical). Also the play on popularity, like zombie mermaids,  comic book mermaids, Clamilton (Clam+Hamilton) etc.
  2. If you ever wanted to let your freak flag fly, this is the event to do that. The parade didn’t have a demographic, an age range, a lifestyle, a sexual orientation, or a denomination. Everyone was there and represented without shame. And I need to add that it is one of the most body positive places to be, especially because or in spite of the near-complete nudity. All sizes and shapes, colors, capable and handi-capable.
  3. King Neptune and Queen Mermaid were Chris Stein and Deborah Harry from iconic group Blondie! And of course, I didn’t get a  picture of that at all. But it was cool to see them lead off the parade. There is always next year to get better pictures, right?

Coney Island is easily accessible by multiple train lines, although it is a trip for most New Yorkers. Have you ever been to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade? Did you enjoy it? If not, do you have a parade that is similar in your town that you want to recommend? Tell me all about it in the comments below!coney island mermaid parade brooklyn, nyc

Until our next rendezvous…















41 thoughts on “3 Reasons to Rendezvous At The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

  1. We had such a (wet) blast!

    Definitely love the ingenuity of the event, we’re lucky to have so many creatives among us! Your pics perfectly capture the spirit of that day ?

  2. This was also my first year attending the Mermaid Parade. It reminded me a little of the Halloween parade in Greenwich village because of the creativity and political commentary.

  3. I’d never heard of this before – it looks AMAZING! While I love my hometown annual 4th of July parade (called “The Fishtown Horribles Parade”) because so many people dress up and create amazing floats, its definitely geared towards the family friendly end of the scale. I’ll have to make a point to road trip it someday (I’m in New Hampshire, so it’s not that far). Thanks for putting this on my radar!

    1. You’re welcome, I believe they have already set the date for next year on their website. So you’ll be able to plan well in advance.

  4. I’ve never heard of this before, and I don’t live too far away from it! Ya learn something new every day ? Thanks for the cool post, I’m definitely going to pin this to my travel board so I remember to maybe go next year!

    1. I can’t believe that I put it off that long. Something would always pop up and ruin my plans. So you aren’t alone, it is out of the way for me, so that added to it as well.

  5. Fascinating resume of the parade. Shame about the camera, but as you said, next year. I’ve not been to anything quite like this so its great to see how things tick in other places. Having said that when I was young we had parades, but recently a lot of those have either disappeared or become less impressive in terms of time and effort. Some of the bigger cities might still do them, but I found the smaller community ones in towns more intimate and focussed on bringing folk together…very long time ago though. Thanks for this, it’s just brought back some forgotten memories!

    1. Yes, I understand. This parade asks for sponsorship every year because it is mostly a community oriented small parade that doesn’t always get a lot of press.

      1. Maybe in things like that not getting the press keeps them more community focussed. I know here when events get exposure quite often the intimacy gets lost and things start playing up to the media and lose sight of where they began. Although that depends on how wide that media circus is I guess!

        1. It just seems that they are always on the verge of not making it to next year, because even being a judge for the costume prize is donation based. So I hope that it isn’t being forgotten.

          1. That’s rather tragic really. I too have seen a local event go that way because the original organisers wanted to step aside and nobody stepped up to the plate. Do you think as time goes by the old sense of community spirit might be on the decline? Sometimes I think I se that here; not all the time mind, because now and then I also see some very positive things too

            1. Yes, I believe that the community has changed a lot, so that is part of it and the nearby amusement park has been taken over by a large corporation so its not as folksy. But then again they saved the amusement park, so it’s a catch 22.

              1. I guess times change too. A lot of youngsters I know (18 through 25) have grown up with technology and tend not to do things we used to as kids. Same with developers, they have changed too and now chase profits over many things. Sign of the times maybe? I’m nit convinced it’s all for the better mind. And in some places there is tremendous positivity, except not many people (aka media) like those stories and seem to prefer doom and gloom.

  6. This looks hilarious! What a fun festival!

    I had never heard of it, but now I’d love to see it. Were there lots of crowds even in the rain?

      1. Woah! So it would be crazily busy if it landed on a sunny day! I’m so impressed that people are so hardy!

  7. I went to visit Coney Island with my family when I was a small child and I loved it so much. This parade didn’t exist then but I’m still interested to see it in the future. I really enjoyed this post, it brought back a few memories 🙂

    1. I love the rain just not in my sneakers. It was worth getting wet though and the sun came out near the end of the parade, but of course, my phone was dead for that too.

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