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The Walking Side Show of Coney Island's Mermaid Parade

posted by LIM College

describe the imageThe Coney Island Mermaid Parade is an annual event for hundreds of spectators on the Island’s famous Boardwalk.  This year Lou Reed, the rocker whose career stretches all the way back to the Velvet Underground associated with Andy Warhol’s Factory, was King Neptune of the Parade. The Queen Mermaid was performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson. 

The parade is a joyous event with drag queens, sea creature costumes, mermen, “freaks” such as bearded ladies and head-to-toe tattooed persons, and others who fit in with the Circus Side Show of the Boardwalk. The general public also parades, dressed up in their wackiest.  In the spirit of 2000s, the parade has become more family-friendly in recent years, but although toned down, it is still inspiring to lovers of on-the-cheap fabulousness everywhere. There was also a group wearing costumes speaking out about the catastrophic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 

It was beautiful weather to celebrate summer, which attracted an enormous crowd of spectators, enthusiasts, and photographers. A Mermaid Ball is held when the parade ends and brings together parade participants and spectators for live music, burlesque, and side-show acts.

-- Audrey Ong

Further Reading:

Pictures from this year’s parade:

Coney Island’s website

A recent article in the New York Times about the BP Oil Spill

Other events in Brooklyn this summer

Topics: Fashion Culture