One of the highlights of last summer for me was finally attending the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, an event that had eluded and intrigued me for years. As my 2014 summer started to shape up, there was one thing I knew for sure: I’d be in Brooklyn on June 21st.
After my hastily thrown together costume my inaugural year, I vowed to come back with a bang this time around. Unfortunately that was a promise to myself I didn’t keep. Though I had almost a full week in Brooklyn after leaving Philadelphia, life got in the way and I barely had time to round up two partners-in-crime in time to make my way to Coney Island.
But partners-in-crime they were. Amanda, pictured top left, is a longtime reader who has become a friend since her move to the East Coast, and Will is one of my dear friends from Thailand who happened to be visiting the US on this glorious weekend.
Last year, I’d actually walked in the parade, which was an experience that would be hard to beat. However, I’d grown overwhelmed and skipped out just as the parade hit the scenic boardwalk — first it snakes along Surf Ave, which is less crowded but also less picturesque. So in the name of new experiences (and close proximity to establishments selling alcoholic slushies) we chose to elbow our way up to the barriers along the boardwalk.
We were in for a serious treat.
Holla to my hometown! 518 is Albany’s area code.
One of my favorite unexpected surprises was recognizing certain characters from last year! Octopus lady, above? She was the duct tape mermaid of 2013! The adorable family below? They were a Dr. Seuss inspired Red Fish, Blue Fish crew!
And as you can tell, the nautical theme is a loosely-adhered to one. Costumes of any kind are welcome — though this aqua-holic thinks the sea related ones are the most fun.
The Mermaid Parade is for anyone. From little girls to grannies, everyone gets in on the fun. I love thinking of the quality time the families that participate must have had dreaming up and bringing to life their floats and outfits.
One thing is undeniable: everyone who comes to Coney Island to celebrate the start of summer solstice is looking to have a raring good time. I don’t know if it was the sun in the sky, the creativity in the air, or the cocktails in our hands, but everywhere I looked there were people laughing and smiling.
One really fun result of my post covering last year’s parade was that I received a few emails from parade participants who saw my photos of them and asked for copies — which a happily obliged. Now, I’m not going to lie. I really hope that happens again this year, specifically with this group of kick ass ladies below. They absolutely rocked it with their shiny little dance routine and their high-energy high-fives, and I won’t deny that I found myself dreaming of joining their spunky crew. Girl crushing was in full effect. Metallic mamas, are you accepting inquiries for new friendships? MY APPLICATION IS READY.
You go girls!
Not that we were having too shabby a time in the crowd. Will, inspired by the liberal nudity taking place in the parade, stripped down to his speedos — and, inexplicably, a nacho libre mask. This development was extremely well received by our parade-watching neighbors, who lined up to snap photos with the superhero.
And lest we go hungry, there were a million dining options at close hand. While we devoured tacos from Place to Beach, Nathan’s hotdogs was also a classic temptation. Amanda succumbed to a nearby churro vendor, but then apparently felt shy about her purchase.
Every time we thought the last round of magical mermaids had passed, there were a few more around the bend. Once again, I was inspired by the creativity and the efforts of my fellow New Yorkers (okay, I can’t quite call anywhere home right now, but I’ll always be a New Yorker at heart.)
Confession: we had been drinking fairly heavily at this point, and in the very unrelenting sun. And thus we came possessed with the idea of riding the Cyclone. From fumbling with the entry gate, to hearing Will cry “sexism!” at the guides who let girls on in their bikinis but not he on in his speedo, to screaming as the roller coaster went tearing around its rickety wooden tracks, I can’t remember the last time I laughed quite so hard.
After the last mermaid strutted past, the parade dissolved into a full on boardwalk dance party — I’d expect nothing less. And so we bopped the day away in front of the ocean; celebrating summer, sea creatures, good art and great vibes.
Sea you next year, merpeople of New York!
I’ll tell you something, these Coney Island paraders really know how to party! Those costumes are very imaginative. Love the pictures.
Speedos for a rollercoaster!? Definitely not for me.
However alcoholic slushies, where do I find one of those? Never seen them before.
Oh, they are a specialty in Coney Island. Head to Life’s a Beach on the boardwalk — perfect for a hot day!
You should get a reality show ! lol or at least do soem vlogging! (thats what they call it right?)
HA! I was in no condition to be recorded on this particular day. Too much fun (and booze!)
When I saw the title, I have to say this is not what I was expecting! My first thought was a bunch of perfect Ariels prancing around. I was pleasantly surprised!
Ha, not in the least 🙂 Quite the wild ones, these mermaids are!
I love your appreciation for “fancy dress” Alex. I am surrounded by Brits who will sport an “under the sea” theme on an average saturday night out. You lovely people remind us you don’t have to wait ’til halloween to dress up!
I am ready to a costume any time! Bummed I didn’t put one together this year. I SWEAR one of these Junes I’m going to get really creative 🙂
This seems like such a quirky and fun event!
It’s one of my favorite of the year 🙂
Yep – this is something I need to experience!
Everyone should, someday 🙂 And I hope I’ll be there for every year forward!
So awesome! Loved your photos from last year and this year’s did not disappoint, so full of colour and life!! That little mermaid… Aw!
Thanks Sarah! Whenever I’m at an event I’m convinced I’m not getting any good photos and then I get home and start editing and I’m like, ahhh, how will I narrow these down for a post?! Ha. There is just too much great material at something like this!
This post was super duper dope. Thank you Alex. I want to be in this parade immmediately. Also concur with your Metallic Mamas girl crush. I have always wanted to be a back-up dancer for Beyonce. Am pretty sure this would be the next best thing.
Glad you enjoyed, Tracy! Those ladies could totally kill it as Bey’s backup girls. They were amazing!
Alcoholic slushies and sea creatures? Where do I sign up!? Ah, I want to go to this parade so badly! It looks like you had an absolute blast. And I love that people of all ages participate in the festivities. Too fun 🙂
It is awesome! With all the nudity and drinking it could easily turn lewd but it still maintains a really fun family vibe. It’s just awesome!
I have pretty much been waiting for this post since last year’s post. I freakin’ love this parade and I want to go so bad! And props to Nacho Libre… solid effort.
Oh, Will slays me. I didn’t 100% ask his permission to post speedo pics of him all over the internet… but somehow I don’t think he’ll mind.
Wow! It seems like everyone is having so much fun!
I was not really expecting this, though. But, it’s actually good. The costumes were quite creative and the smiles on those faces…priceless!
Good times were had by all 🙂 Thanks for reading, Yzzah!
That’s sounds like so much fun! And the pictures are so colorful.
I’ve never heard of anything like that, but now I’m already going through possible costumes in my mind 🙂
Tell me about it! I’m already brainstorming for next summer…
This post made my LOL in my office :)i wish we had something like this in my hometown as its a coastal town also, great photos 🙂
Ha, glad you enjoyed in Carla! Sounds like you’ll just have to come to New York 🙂
I learn about so many new traditions from your blog! We remotely get to enjoy all those, living in this hot Arizona desert(ed) region 🙂 I am not sure if you have heard of annual water hose fights that happen in Ouray, Colorado which we were lucky to witness on our recent trip. If you have not, take a look at it on my blog post,you might enjoy it 🙂 https://www.beaches-cities-wildlife.com/2014/07/welcome-to-ouray-switzerland-of-america.html
Aw, I love bringing the joy of the Mermaid Parade to people all over the country 🙂 And wow, a water hose fight! Off to take a peek…
You’re friends with Amanda! How cool. I love her!
Aw, isn’t she the bestest? She’s my new NYC Yes Girl!
Looks like a blast! I’ll have to check this out sometime!
Indeed you do! It should be on any festival, sea, or fun lovers list 🙂
I love this post. I hope you get to make this an annual visit. What a unique event.
You need to come some year! And we can dress up Tucker!
I REALLY need to get myself to this awesomeness! Perhaps next year I will meet you there!!
Bring me with you, Diana! I saw this on Travel Freak as well and was just like, a mermaid parade?! How did I not know about this? My people!
OK!! I totally want to dress up like a mermaid! Or at least in a cute little outfit. Alex seems to have the market on cute outfits for this stuff … perhaps a little fashion consulting on the side, A?
It’s a date, guys!
That would be amazeballs 🙂
We always LOVED watching the Mermaid Parade when we lived in New York. Great photos!
Thanks Laura! It’s the kind of quirky thing that makes me miss living in NYC…