Mermaid Parade 2017
The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is one of my very favorite New York events. I was bummed when I first moved here that it had already passed, and also in 2015 when bad weather kept me away. I was so happy that I was back from our trip in time to catch this year's parade, and I met my mom at Tom's on the boardwalk for pre-parade pancakes on Saturday.
When I left my apartment my Weather Channel app (which just lies) said there was little chance of rain, but during breakfast it started to pour. It seemed as if it would never let up but I was reluctant to leave since I just love the parade so much. As we were walking toward the subway, it started to clear and we turned around just in time to secure a spot on the boardwalk and catch the beginning of the parade.
This year's grand marshals were Blondie's Debbie Harry and Christ Stein, and except for a few bouts of sprinkles the rain mostly held off and the show went on. And what a spectacular show it always is—hands down the best parade in New York (or maybe anywhere). What makes the Mermaid Parade so special is that there are a few groups and corporations represented, but for the most part it's just people being their weird, creative, authentic selves. It's everything I love about Coney Island and New York in one afternoon.
People mostly stick to the nautical theme, but any gathering in New York will attract at least a few people who are off-topic. This is the third time I've been to this parade (you can see my previous photos here and here) and while I did see a few repeats, it mostly feels brand new each year. The rain delay didn't seem to keep anyone away, and in fact my mom and I both thought that this year's seemed bigger and better than ever.
The Mermaid Parade is all about joy and inclusiveness, but it was no surprise to see several Donald Trump parodies (one had very accurate baby hands and one I recognized from the Intrepid protest). There were at least two groups that did a nautical take on the Handmaid's Tale, which I thought was so perfect, and at times the parade could have almost been mistaken for a protest march.
Every year I think about actually participating in the Mermaid Parade, which goes against my strong aversion to "participating" in general, but that's the thing about the Mermaid Parade. It's just such an incredibly joyful experience populated by all the right kind of people. People of every shape, size, color and age are welcome and celebrated for their creativity and commitment to just being themselves.