oleh: Susan Portnoy
Women half dressed wearing fish costumes. Men half dressed wearing fish costumes. Elaborate doos, makeup for days. Painted floats and classic cars. The streets filled with cheering crowds. It’s quite a scene.
I’d heard about the Mermaid Parade for eons, but it wasn’t until last year that I experienced it myself. What a crazy, surreal event. There’s truly nothing like it. And if you haven’t been and you’re looking for something to do this weekend, I highly recommend you jump on the subway and head out to Coney Island.
On Sunday, the Mermaid Parade will be celebrating its 35th year kicking off the summer. According to its website, it’s the “nation’s largest art parade,” giving local artists the opportunity for self-expression. I’d heard rumors that it wasn’t going to happen this year. Something about sponsorships not being what they hoped, but I am happy to report that all seems well and its on for June 17.
The event starts at 1pm but I get there a lot earlier. I arrived at noon last year and the majority of pavement space along the parade route was already taken by revelers who staked out their spots with full on picnic regalia including folding lounge chairs, blankets and coolers. Some even brought their own police tape to stake out their spots.
Of course, Coney Island’s famous boardwalk and beach are only steps away if you get tired of the festivities along with a vast array of tantalizing junk food—deep-fried Oreos, funnel cakes and Nathan’s hot dogs are some of my favorites—and a midway filled with amusement park rides.
If you decide to go, here are a few tips to make the most out of your day.
If you’re coming from Manhattan, take the subway, don’t bother with a taxi (too expensive) or a car (parking is a nightmare). The F, D, N, and Q lines are a straight shot to Stillwell Avenue. Leave yourself at least 45 minutes to an hour for the trip.