Act Like a Tourist: Coney Island/Mermaid Parade

Coney Island

There wasn’t a whole lot appealing to me about Coney Island. I’m not a big beach person. Leanne had delightful tales about teenage girl gangs harassing her from her last visit. I may have a slight fear of anything vaguely carnie. But I do love any parade where there’s a possibility of drag queens, so I took what felt like an interminably long subway ride to Coney Island for Mermaid Parade.

Mermaid Parade bills itself as the nation’s largest art parade, and has been running since 1983. Super storm Sandy threatened to shut it down this year, but people rallied for their right to wear boob pasties and tons of glitter and march in a parade.

Stepping out from the station, I was greeted by the sweaty masses pressed up against the parade’s barricades. I still managed a few shots, to give you a taste.

Image: Mermaid Parade crowds

The crowds

Mermaid Parade

a sampling

Stilt walker at Mermaid Parade, Coney Island

As I do, I quickly got tired of the crowds and trying to take shots by holding my camera high over my head and praying I caught something, so I moved to the boardwalk, which ended up being the true goldmine. Random people either not involved with the parade or waiting their turn were out in abundance.

Bubble guy at Mermaid Parade

This guy was letting out intense bubbles. Note the expert photobombing behind him.

Oh you know, just a gay marching band.

Oh you know, just a gay marching band.

Coney Island Marching Band

A slightly less gay marching band.


The beach as a whole also wasn’t bad, if you’re into that thing. I noticed no one was in the water. Is it gross? Do large sea monsters devour children if they get too close?


Or maybe the kids all cool off in the jumping water fountain, where I acted like a creep and took pictures of them. But they were having so much fun! They would chase the water around, and scream when it came out of the holes, and okay i’m a total creep.

IMG_0089 IMG_0086

Unfortunately, I could not for the life of me figure out a way to get on the rides, which I assume were closed for the parade, but I did get a lovely parting shot, which I think sums up Coney Island and Mermaid Parade nicely.


Why yes, thank you for asking, that is a pair of tightie whities cut into what I can only refer to as a dick sling, on what is obviously Neptune. You stay classy, Coney Island.

The details: The Mermaid Parade usually happens at the end of June, on Coney Island. The parade starts at West 21st and Surf Avenue. You can take the D, F, N, or Q to Stillwell Ave., which will dump you out right in the middle of it all.


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