Mermaid Parade

The seaweed is always greener
In somebody else’s lake…

That is what played on repeat in my head as I rode the subway out to Coney Island for the annual (infamous) Mermaid Parade on Saturday. It was an experience to say the least.

Both sides of the street were packed with people. Who knew mermaids could draw such a crowd!

Most people were just there to spectate, but others really got into it. Some of the crowd members had better costumes than the people who were in the parade.

The word for the day was “chaos.” Our group arrived in 4 separate waves and trying to meet up was crazy. So many people were trying to call/text their friends that cell coverage pretty much stopped. I found Jen and Ashley, but when we tried to cross the street to meet up with the rest of the group, we discovered that the crosswalks had all been closed as the parade was about to start. Fail #1.

We found a spot on our side of the street and waited for the mermaids. Instead we got a bunch of classic cars. It was weird.

An old truck carrying the Brooklyn borough president…and a random man in a bathtub:

And a DeLorean fully equipped for a trip back to 1955:

While all this was going on, planes were writing (upside down) messages in the sky:

Finally the cars all passed and the sea creatures started showing up, led by a group of unicycle-riding sea monkeys:

The whole thing was completely absurd. They even had a giant sea monster balloon – a sea dragon, maybe? – that you’ll notice is being carried. That’s right. It was fully inflated, but not with helium so they carried it down the street.

Finally, we found some mermaids!

By that point, we were over the whole thing and wanted to find the rest of our group. They were letting bunches of people cross to the other side of the street when there were braked in the floats so we got in line. We made it across and connected with the rest of our group only to find ourselves trapped.

The parade ran down Surf Avenue for a bit and then looped around up on to the boardwalk and we found ourselves in the middle of this U. They weren’t letting people cross the boardwalk so we couldn’t get to the beach and they stopped letting people across Surf Ave. so we couldn’t get to the subway. We were legitimately trapped

I felt like I was back in China trying to shop in Auchan on a Saturday afternoon.

After much wandering and frustration, I set out on my own, determined to find my way back to the subway. I finally found a place where the cops were letting people across and made my way across. Sadly, I couldn’t call Ashley to let everyone know since our phones still weren’t working. (They eventually made it out, too.)

Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be going back next year. Been there, done that and on to the next.

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25 June 2012. Photography, That's Life.

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