When I lived in New York, I tried to never miss the Mermaid Parade — a Coney Island-grown, soaking-wet glitterfest, as the parade culminates with everybody in attendance marching into the Atlantic Ocean. This was in the ’90s, when there were at least as many strutting, body painted mermaids and mermen as parade watchers. I’ll be in NYC tomorrow, just missing this year’s parade, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this weekend. But it got me thinking about the time I swam near then Neptune King David Byrne, as he tossed tropical fruit into the water in some kind of improvisational Summer Solstice ritual. Only in Coney Island could such a thing be possible.
All of these photos are of the 1999 Mermaid Parade, and were taken by my husband, Matthew Culligan (using a manual 35mm Minolta).
Trumpet player on the Boardwalk:
Dancing mermaid (in a strategically cropped photo):
The 1999 Neptune King, Curtis Sliwa:
The end of the parade: