Coney Island Mermaid Parade turns 40, returns after 2-year hiatus
June 21, 2022 Beth Eisgrau-Heller
This Mermaid is the stuff of nightmares. Many parade-goers opted to costume themselves based on the mythical Sirens vs. Disney’s Little Mermaid. Many parade-goers were dressed as Ariel, Ursula the evil sea witch, or Cruella DeVille. Photos by Beth Eisgrau-Heller/Beth Heller Photo
Scantily clad mermaids, mermen, pirates, mythical beings and sea creatures of all ages, shapes and sizes gathered to celebrate the return of the beloved Coney Island Mermaid Parade on Saturday.
The parade marked its milestone 40th birthday after Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the event the past two years. It is synonymous with creativity, individuality, diversity and the salty, honky-tonk ethos of “The People’s Playground.”
This year, the honor of Queen Mermaid and King Neptune was bestowed upon singer-songwriter and actor Mx. Justin Vivian Bond and Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, former commissioner at the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The parade’s parent non-profit organization, Coney Island USA, was established in 1980. Its mission is to protect and preserve the history of the neighborhood’s amusements and unique artforms. The group produces numerous signature events, including The Coney Island Circus Sideshow and Burlesque at the Beach and operates the Coney Island Museum, Sideshow by the Seashore and the Shooting Gallery/Arts Annex.