Mermaid Parade

This Saturday was the 25th anniversary of Coney Island’s beloved Mermaid Parade. For the uninitiated, the Mermaid Parade is one of those wonderful traditions that keeps New York vital, despite the gentrification, commercialization, and redevelopment. Every summer, groups dressed as mermaids, shellfish, pirates, and other denizens of the high seas converge for what is essentially a debaucherous freak parade (it’s also the nation’s largest art parade). According to, this year’s was the biggest Mermaid Parade ever.

Mermaid Parade 2

Unfortunately, Coney Island is slated for redevelopment. Astroland stands to be demolished in favor of hotels and condos. Though the amusement park was granted a stay of execution, allowing it to remain open through the 2008 summer season, the longer-range future of Astroland and Coney Island are still up in the air.

ETA: David from Coney Island USA wrote in to let us know that Astroland was NOT granted a stay of execution to remain open next summer and that the New York Post (imagine that) reported the story without consulting Astroland. In short: suck, suck, suck.

Mermaid Parade 3

Here’s to enjoying the Mermaid Parade while we still can, and to not giving up the fight for the survival of this and other irreplacable New York institutions.

Photos by Sean. More photos