’Maid in Brooklyn: Your guide to the 36th annual Mermaid Parade

’Maid in Brooklyn: Your guide to the 36th annual Mermaid Parade
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

There is plenty to sea — and do!

Next weekend, the annual Mermaid Parade will sweep across Coney Island, bringing thousands of revelers decked out in their most flamboyant sea wear to strut down the streets of Sodom by the Sea. If you want to join the country’s largest art parade — or just watch and have a good time — consult this guide to getting glittery gear, staking out a spot, and dancing the net away.

Getting mer-made up

Whether you are on the sidelines or in the parade, you want to look your fin-est. Start your shopping spree at beauty emporium Ricky’s (478 Bergen St. between Fifth and Flatbush avenues in Park Slope), where you can pick up all the colorful wigs, makeup, and body paint you need to go from pasty to Poseidon. Then head to Havin’ a Party (8414 Fifth Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge) or Party City (3849 Nostrand Ave. between Avenues Y and Z in Sheepshead Bay) to pick up the mermaid skirts, seashell bras, and tridents you need to complete your nautical metamorphosis.

Sea and be seen

The Mermaid Parade will kick off at 1 pm on Saturday, June 16, marching down Surf Avenue from W. 21st Street to the Cyclone roller coaster on W. 10th Street, where it will turn right and march back down the Boardwalk to the parachute jump. The procession will include antique cars, motorized floats, marching bands, thousands of scantily-clad aquatic partiers, and this year’s Queen Mermaid and King Neptue: musician Amanda Palmer and writer Neil Gaiman.

But you don’t have to be part of a group to march! Any individual can register online at www.coneyisland.com for $30 ($15 for kids — but you should choose the “Family” section of the parade). And if you wait until the last minute, you can sign up on the morning of the parade, from 10 am to 1 pm at Surf Avenue and W. 21st Street, where it will cost you $35.

You can take in the classic view of the parade by joining the sea of crowds along Surf Avenue, anywhere from W. 21st Street to W. 10th Street. If you want to indulge in typical Coney Island delights like a Nathan’s Famous frankfurter (at 1310 Surf Ave. at Stillwell Avenue) or take a spin on the Wonder Wheel, be sure to show up well before the 1 pm start time, because you will not be able to cross Surf Avenue until the parade ends around 4 pm. If you want the opportunity to bail early, stay on Surf Avenue, on the side away from the beach.

The best seats in town are at the Judges’ Stand, at Surf Avenue and W. 19th Street. To join that coveted crew, you must sign up to be a member of Coney Island USA at the $200 “Mermaid Parade Judge” level or higher, which comes with a guaranteed seat in the Judges’ Stand, a t-shirt, refreshments, and a vote for the best Mermaid Costume, Neptune Outfit, Marching Group, Sea Creature, and more.

Winners in each category will be announced at the Mermaid Parade Ball, on the rooftop of local eatery Kitchen 21, which will also feature a burlesque show starring the current Miss Coney Island, Gigi Bonbon, along with live bands, and a set from DJ La La Lina.

Mermaid Parade Ball at Kitchen 21 (3052 W. 21st St. at the Boardwalk in Coney Island, www.kitchen-21.com). June 16; 5–11 pm. $25 ($55 VIP).

Wave good-bye

If you want to show off your outfit closer to home, there are plenty of options! In Gowanus, the Sea Creature Stomp is an unofficial after-party at the Gemini and Scorpio Loft, where you can take in tropical brass bands, lounge on the roof, and cool off with some ice cream.

In Bushwick, you will need a costume to enter the Atlantis party at House of Yes in Bushwick, where you can pose in the floating photo booth and dance the night away with other sea creatures.

Sea Creature Stomp at Gemini and Scorpio Loft (255 Douglass St. between Nevins Street and Third Avenue in Gowanus, www.geminiandscorpio.com). June 16 at 8 pm. $10–$20 suggested donation.

Atlantis: Mermaid Parade After Party at House of Yes (2 Wyckoff Ave. at Jefferson Street in Bushwick, www.houseofyes.org). June 16 at 10 pm. $25.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcsh[email protected]nglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Queen of the Sea: Musician Amanda Palmer will be the Queen of this year’s Coney Island Mermaid Parade — accompanied by her husband, writer Neil Gaiman, who will be King Neptune.
Kyle Cassidy

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