They were making waves — out of papier mache.
Red Hookers dressed as marine animals, sailors, developers, and construction workers took to the streets on Thursday in the annual Barnacle Parade, a tongue-in-cheek celebration of the community’s comeback from Hurricane Sandy.
The neighborhood is still recovering three years after the superstorm soaked local homes and businesses, but parade-goers said the facetious festival helps residents see the lighter side of the disaster.
“I think it’s important for the healing process of the neighborhood, and it’s a very Red Hook way to do that,” said Karly Ewins, who rebuilt and waterproofed her family home after losing a chunk of it to Sandy. “It’s a rough and ragtag healing process.”
Revelers paraded in their sea-faring finery down Pioneer Street from Van Brunt Street and wrapped up with a block party and barbecue.
Many of the marchers suffered loss and damages in Sandy, but the event was a happy affair, attendees said.
“I think it is a really joyous experience for people even though it sort of was triggered by something that was very traumatic and has lasting effects for a lot of people,” said Shalini Deolewis, whose 3-year-old daughter Mina dressed as a penguin for the parade.
The centerpiece of the carnival was a float featuring a mock-up of a construction site, complete with working crane and rising skyscraper, representing the wave of new development that has hit the neighborhood since the storm — a cheeky reminder of the challenges the neighborhood still faces, both from natural disasters and rapid development, said Deolewis.
But the parade is largely a-political, she said. Ultimately, it is a way for members of the community to come together and share their personal experiences from the storm.
“For some it’s just pure fun,” she said. “For others, it is a recognition that many of us have survived and have been able to recover from the devastation of that event.”