Making a splash: Mermaid Parade brings out the joy of Coney Island

Making a splash: Mermaid Parade brings out the joy of Coney Island
Photo by Bret Lehne

It was a sight to sea!

Mobs of merry merfolk washed ashore on Coney Island’s Surf Avenue to show off their sparkling fins and wacky tentacles for the 36th-annual Mermaid Parade on Saturday, which unified thousands in a gleeful celebration, according to one of the parade’s honored guests.

“It was amazing,” said Neil Gaiman, bestselling author of “American Gods,” and the parade’s official King Neptune for the day. “Everyone was there for the joy and the mermaid madness.”

Gaiman and his wife Amanda Palmer — one half of musical duo The Dresden Dolls, and the parade’s Queen Mermaid — dove right into their roles as the grand marshals. Gaiman arrived royally drenched in bits of fishnet and sequins, while Palmer sported seashells and feathers as his marine queen.

Her Majesty: Singer Amanda Palmer leads the day as Queen of the Mermaid Parade.
Photo by Bret Lehne

“It’s truly an honor to be the consort of a queen who will go out and shake her tail feathers,” Gaiman said.

And they weren’t the only ones showing off their fins. Thousands attended the event, making it the biggest Mermaid Parade to date, according to the event’s founder.

“Without question, we beat the record for attendance,” said Dick Zigun.

The procession included maritime floats from local organizations such as Coney Island Brewery, the New York Aquarium, and the Alliance for Coney Island. Some parade-goers even mermified non-nautical subjects, carrying signs calling for “Sea-quel Rights,” while others dressed as “Ruth Wader Finsburg” and witches from the “Salmon Witch Trials.”

Wakanda Forever: Some marchers channeled their inner Black Panther by dressing as Wakandan mermaids.
Photo by Bret Lehne

But for Palmer, the flashy costumes came second to the parade’s ability to flood the city with a wave of camaraderie.

“It was a perfect coming together — a total explosion of joy and life in all its forms, which is what New Yorkers need right now,” she said.

— with Bill Roundy

Enchanted: Coney Island visitors take to the streets in their best mermaid garb at The Mermaid Parade.
Photo by Mike Beitchman