Mermaid Parade, now in its 40th year, set to return after two cancellations
Don’t call it a comeback.
After being canceled for two straight years, Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade is returning to get the summer season started, Brooklyn style.
The parade, now in its 40th year, is organized by Coney Island USA and labeled as the largest art parade in the nation. It will take place on Saturday, June 18 around 1 p.m.
Adam Rinn, who became artistic director for CIUSA this past winter, is excited for thousands of parade-goers who can once again celebrate on the streets of Coney.
“We’re thrilled that Coney Island USA’s Mermaid Parade will be back to the in-person event that everyone has come to know and love for the past 40 years,” he told the Eagle. “The participants have had two years of pent-up creative energy, so expect to see some of the best and most colorful costumes, floats and of course sea creatures.”
According to the organization, the parade was designed to “bring mythology to life for local residents who live on streets named Mermaid and Neptune, create self-esteem in a district that is often disregarded as ‘entertainment’ and let artistic New Yorkers find self-expression in public.”
This year, Mx. Justin Vivian Bond is Queen Mermaid while Dr. Dave A. Chokshi is King Neptune.
Chokshi served as the 43rd commissioner at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bond has appeared on Broadway; in film, television and nightclub stages; and in concert halls worldwide. Bond has been at the forefront of trans visibility and activism since the early 1990s.
Bond’s memoir, “Tango: My Childhood Backwards and in High Heels” won the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction.
Rinn said the king and queen were truly notable New Yorkers.
“Dr. Dave Chokshi, the former city health commissioner, was a familiar and welcoming face and voice over the past two years,” he said. “With his help and advice, the city has navigated through some extremely dark times, but we’re thankful that we can all celebrate the Summer of ’22 at this year’s parade as safely as possible. Justin Vivian Bond is a legendary cabaret singer, performer, artist, writer and advocate. Her work within the arts as well as her LGBTQ+ advocacy makes her the perfect Queen for our beloved parade.”
Last year’s parade was slated to be held in September instead of its traditional summer date. However, due to increased numbers of COVID cases and the rise of the Delta variant, those plans were put to a halt.
In August 2020, Coney Island USA hosted its first-ever Mermaid Parade Tail-a-Thon. The virtual event featured parade participants and shared the donations with charities.
The parade will start at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue and roll east to West 10th Street. At West 10th Street, the parade will turn south towards the boardwalk.
Cars and motorized floats will continue down Surf Avenue, passing West 10th Street and exit the parade.
At the boardwalk, the marchers and push-pull floats will turn west and head towards West 17th Street. The parade will then disband.
At around 4 p.m., Rinn will lead the King and Queen procession from the reviewing stand at 19th and Surf Avenue and through the Maimonides Park parking lot to the beach for the official Beach Ceremony and opening of the ocean.
This year’s parade will be the first without CIUSA co-founder and former Artistic Director Dick Zigun. He was ousted from the organization following a dispute over finances this past December. According to The New York Times, Zigun created the annual parade.
Those who wish to participate can register at Coney Island USA’s website.
The official after-party of the Mermaid Parade, the Mermaid Parade Ball, will be held at 5 p.m. at Coney Island Brewery, 1904 Surf Ave. Tickets start at $25.
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