After touching down in New York, it quickly came to my attention that there would be a rather “fabulous” parade happening on Coney Island, a peninsula in southwestern Brooklyn, New York. Coney Island is home to a well known amusement park, beach and boardwalk which has been featured in movies, books and video games for years.
I didn’t know much about it, but the parade was the talk of the weekend. Since so many people had mentioned it, I knew I had to be there. When Saturday morning rolled around, I grabbed my Canon Rebel SL1, my go-to camera, slid in a fresh memory card, and shot out the door.
What is the Mermaid Parade?
2014 marked the 32nd annual Mermaid Parade, in which revelers and party-goers lined Surf Ave and the boardwalk dressed in eclectic, sea-themed attire. Founded in 1983, the Mermaid Parade has been happening every year on the first Saturday of every summer. This year, it was June 21st.
The purpose of the parade is to bring “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.” (The Mermaid Parade)
There was no avoiding the overflowing sense of community, the unconditional joy or the buzzing eccentricity that reverberated throughout Coney Island. At the Mermaid Parade, the people of New York let their freak flag fly by dressing up and being, frankly, whoever it is they want to be.
Public drinking laws are effectively suspended for the day and everyone is allowed to get as naked as they want. It’s a well-utilized opportunity to get naked and drunk in public!
That being said, I should note that the photos here are not all entirely safe for work!
The People of the Mermaid Parade
And when the parade ended, I took to the streets in search of the most interesting people.
The Mermaid Parade was definitely one of the more interesting gatherings I’ve seen, and I wouldn’t have expected it to happen in New York!
Every day I discover new things to love about this city. And to be honest, I wouldn’t mind staying for a while.
In fact, I think I just might.