Tag Archives: coney island

A Whale Of A Fun Time at The Mermaid Parade in Coney Island

17 Jun
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Lots of Whale Watching

     Billed as the largest art parade in the nation, the 36th annual Mermaid Parade kicked off at 1pm on Surf Ave. and 21st St. in Coney Island, Brooklyn.  Every culture has their own way of bringing in a new season and the NY way of bringing in summer can only be at one place, the Mermaid Parade where thousands of marchers from all over the country put on their best interpretation of sea creatures. On one of the warmest days of the year so far in NYC, close to 800,000 flocked their way to the parade route to catch a glimpse of some the most creative and artistic displays NY offers.  As usual, Mermaid Parade founder, Dick Zigun leads the parade beating his drum and leading a brass band right past the reviewing stand by MCU Ballpark where the minor league Cyclones play baseball. There is a large group of very eager judges waiting for bribes so they can cast a favorable vote to many of the hundreds of participants. Each year has a Queen Mermaid and King Neptune to be honored as the celebrity guests of the parade and this year a beautiful couple with great artistic influence graced the parade route. Rock star Amanda Palmer and multi-talented Neil Gaiman with their beautiful daughter waved to the crowd to get the parade started in what would be an amazing display of creativity.

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Founder Dick Zigun Getting Ready 

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Queen Mermaid Amanda Palmer and King Neptune Neil Gaiman

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Heading to the Beach

 

     A parade of classic cars got things rolling. The Camaro is always are crowd favorite. Waves and waves of sea creatures came marching in to the delight of the crowd. The parade also honors it’s predecessor, The Coney Island Mardi Gras Parade, which was quite popular in the early 1900s. Marchers pay tribute to that era by dressing up or hardly for the burlesque and Vaudeville tribute. It’s always great to see groups get together for a special event like this. One of the groups to get the crowd worked up were the Big Apple Babes with a nice dance routine. They were awesome. Right behind them came the thunderous drum beat of the all-female drum band Fogo Azul. The crowd went nuts when they did their show. A well choreographed group were The Tail Shakers and that they did.  They were a fun group.

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Marni With A Message

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Two Classy Mermaids Always Dress For The Occassion

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Mermaid Arrives to Steal Some Breathes Away

    There’s always a group that changes their theme each year but they always leave a lasting impression. This year the Salmon Witch Trayls knocked it out the park with their awesome dance routine that left the crowd wanting more. NYers have always been rebellious by nature. When the MTA announced that the L train service to Manhattan would be suspended for 15 months beginning in April 2019 lots of people freaked out. So it’s only natural an L Train Brass Band would unite and sing a protest song at the parade.  Only in NY. A perennial favorite and this years best float had the be the Rockaway Mermaid Brigade. They brought out a huge whale with a singer on top while the group danced and had a great time below. They were awesome and set the bar high for years to come…even though many of them were waiting for the parade to end so they can go to a bar. Great job Rockaway. This was one of the best parades of the year so far and should definitely be on your bucket list. Have a great summer of fun everyone.

IMG_9831SPLASH YA NEXT YEAR

Sea Creatures Make Landfall in Coney Island at the Mermaid Parade

18 Jun
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Welcome Aboard the Mermaid Ship

     The torrential morning rain turned the prospects of an annual flock of parade watchers over to Surf Ave. in Coney Island, Brooklyn into a gloomy one.   But as though King Neptune himself rose from the ocean to command the rain to stop, just a few minutes after the parade kicked off the rain ceased and all kinds of sea creatures and lovely mermaids made landfall at the 35th annual Mermaid Parade. New Yorkers are some of the most creative people in the country and outside of the Village Halloween parade, this parade is one of the most creative and artistic. People come from all parts of the country to take part in the annual festival. The Mermaid Parade is actually on its second remake as the original Mermaid parade paid tribute to Vaudeville and burlesque. And this years version had plenty of groups doing a great job going vintage.

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Deborah Harry and Chris Stein Rocking the Parade

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Marni In Revolution Mode

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Going Vintage

     Each year the parade sponsors select a King Neptune and Queen Mermaid to kick off the festivities. This year rock royalty was present with punk rock icons Chris Stein and Deborah Harry getting the crowd prepared for a fun-filled day.  Deborah Harry took punk rock mainstream in the 70s and 80s with big hits like Call Me and had the first rap video ever aired on MTV in 1981 with the mega-hit Rapture. Chris Stein was the lead guitarist and photographer of many Deborah Harry photos. Soon after the celebrities waved to their adoring fans, the fun started with thousands of sea creatures and lovely mermaids showing off to the judges to win prizes. Of course, the judges are always open to bribery by any means necessary.  This year, the judges had tough choices to make as there were some great costumes and performances. One of the best ones was from a group called Clamilton with an amazing act. They were on point. A crowd favorite is the all female drum band Fogo Azul getting the crowd all worked up. Paying a tribute to Vaudeville was probably one of best groups of the day…the Rockaway Mermaid Brigade with a tribute to Duke Ellington. The group dressed for the occasion and then paid tribute to Blondie with a funny version of Call Me. Another fun group that probably had the best pirate ship was the Cee Bee Gee Bees group buzzing around and making funny honey. King Neptune would have been proud at all the man-made tributes to all things living in the water.

 

Enjoy the summer.

 

 

Sea Creatures Invade the Mermaid Parade

22 Jun

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The start of summer is celebrated in all kinds of ways in the city. You could have easily gone to Times Square and done yoga poses for free but for those wanting just a little more excitement there’s no better place to be than Coney Island, Brooklyn celebrating the Mermaid Parade with thousands of sea theme related costumes for all to enjoy. Each year the crowds keep growing larger and people come from all parts of the country to get in on the fun.  One big surprise was when Mayor deBlasio dressed up as a pirate to kick off the parade. His two children, Dante and Chiara, were named King Neptune and Queen Mermaid and they were loving all the  attention. Then the fun really started. The best place to see the parade is by the judges grandstand on Surf Ave and 20th St.  All groups are given a number and rated by easily influenced judges (the better the bribe the better the rating).  There were marching bands and dancing groups to keep the crowd well entertained. Since the Mermaid Parade also pays tribute to Burlesque era, there were plenty of dancers paying homage to the art form. One creative mermaid promised to keep watch over any drowning swimmers as she was she Guardian Mermaid. The first of the many sea creatures was rolled in while it sat on top of a large decorative fish. One group after another tried to impress the judges but by far the dancing group Sole Train made the best impression (bribes ahem). Not too far behind them were the crowd favorites Sexcamaids with their hot and sexy dance moves. Jazzing things up was a local group from the Coney Island Yacht Club with their brass band that could give any New Orleans street band a run for their crawfish. The parade is just the start of the days activities where the winner is announced at the Mermaid Ball later on that afternoon.  This year’s Mermaid Parade was one of the better ones so far and what a way to kick off some summer fun.

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Seashells Abundant at the Mermaid Parade

22 Jun

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      Lots of strategically placed seashells were seen at the 31st annual Mermaid Parade held in Coney Island USA on Surf Ave. It’s always held on the first Saturday after the summer solstice as a way of remembering mythological creatures, sealife, and burlesque shows from yesteryear. Summer is meant to be spent at the beaches cooling off from the hot sun and having lots of fun.  Kicking off the summer in NYC were some of the most creative costumes outside of the Halloween Parade in the West Village. The parade was close to being cancelled however fundraisers were successful enough to have a NY institution continue in the face of adverse economic conditions. This years honorary King Neptune was Judah Friedlander and the Queen Mermaid was Carole Radziwill …both Brooklyn natives.

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     After a parade of classic cars, the fun got started as many barely dressed mermaids made their way up Surf Ave. The Sexcamaids got the crowd going with their sexy dance moves. King Neptune made a few appearances as well as many many mermaids and sea creatures with some of the more creative costumes I have seen in a while.  Things really picked up when the group of Book of Merman appeared soon followed by Brasil other wise known as Batala, the all female drum band that rocks. One group surprised everyone with their rendition of a sea version of Wet Side Story. They were real good and got the judges attention. There were the Occupy crowd with their social conscience messages and encouraging the use of renewable energy forms. One of the better band performances came from “The Band” of Baltimore. They really tore it up.  Marnie was seen as the skating mermaid and there was even a fire breathing mermaid. Closing out the parade were the crowd favorite Coney Island dancers. After a hot day of marching and dancing the party continued on to the boardwalk and into the beach where the drums and music kept everyone set for a summer of fun.

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                                                               HAPPY SUMMER EVERYONE!!!!

Fins Were Flapping Furiously at the Mermaid Parade

25 Jun

    

 Every culture has its own way of bringing in the summer and New Yorkers have their own special way of celebrating the surf and sand all its inhabitants. Outside of the Halloween parade in the Village, this is the wildest and zaniest expression of art, costume, dance. This year’s 30th anniversary of the second coming of the Mermaid Parade was by far one of the best in recent years. The Mermaid Parade pays homage to a long but not forgotten Coney Island Mardi Gras parade which lasted from 1903 to 1954. It also keeps the art form of burlesque alive and well and there were many participants shaking their tassels. This unique Coney Island event has been growing in popularity each year. This years celebrity King Neptune, Jackie Martling of Howard Stern fame,  and Queen Mermaid, famous actress Annabella Sciorra,  ruled over the proceedings.

     There’s really nothing formal about the parade except maybe the Mermaid Ball after the parade where the best costume winner is decided and awarded a coveted prize.  All costumed marchers perform for the massive crowd until they make their way to the reviewing stand where the judges make notes for creativity and hope they make the cut to be a finalist for the Mermaid Ball. Some of the more notable marchers and also celebrating their 15th entry to the Mermaid Parade is the Hungry March Band. Their group was one of the largest to flap their fins. Of course with todays fascination with the walking dead, a visit from the zombie mermaids was welcomed by the crowd. It also helped that some burlesque dancers shook their tassels. One of the better choreographed performances came from the angels and shedevils doing battle but the prize definitely went to the Mermagedon group of dancers with their human sacrifice dance. They rocked out. Probably the best surprise came from the Emporer Norton’s Stationary Band. They played original tunes that kept the crowd rocking. This was their first year at the parade and hopefully not their last. A parade of this kind wouldn’t be the same without the Occupy Wall Street crowd even though some defectors were seen carrying Occupy Atlantis signs. NYC nightclub crowds got into the act with their cool sea mushroom cap carts. Some mermaids were seen chilling on some champagne on the lounge chairs in the back. Celebrating a large milestone was the 85th birthday of the world-famous Cyclone rollercoaster and if you’ve never been on it keep your caps on because it will fly off on the first turn. The tens of thousands that turned out for this years celebration of summer were treated to one of the better parades of the year.

TIME FOR SUMMER FUN!!!!

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