The Pride Parade, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, the Mermaid Parade, and all other non-essential events in June will be cancelled to stem the spread of COVID-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday.
“These kind of community events, we love them, but they’re not what we need right now. They’re not essential,” de Blasio said in his daily coronavirus briefing on April 2o. “The bottom line is about safety.”
The mayor’s order calls off many of the borough’s largest events, including the 24th annual Brooklyn Pride Parade, Sunset Park’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, and the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, which would have celebrated its 38th year this June.
Manhattan’s Dyke March, Puerto Rican Day Parade, and Pride March — now in its 50th year — will also be cancelled.
Monday’s announcement comes three days after de Blasio cancelled all permit applications for events in May, cancelling the Brooklyn Half, among other events.
The community events may be rescheduled, although it’s not yet clear when large gatherings will be able to safely proceed, de Blasio clarified.
“A lot of these events will be postponed. A lot of them are looking at doing something later in the year,” he said at the press conference. “Then we’ll work closely with them to find a time and place to do what they do each year.”
Dick Zigun, the director of the non-profit arts organization Coney Island USA who organizes the Mermaid Parade every year, said that he hopes to reschedule the parade for later this summer.
“There will be some version of the Mermaid Parade, ideally a real parade in the street later this summer. If not, then maybe a virtual online parade,” he said.
Regardless of the parade’s fate, Zigun will still offer merchandise for the postponed event and plans to announce the event’s newest King Neptune and Queen Mermaid sometime in the next few days.
“I hope you’re all Broadway fans!” he said, hinting at this year’s King and Queen.
Meanwhile, the organizer of Sunset Park’s Puerto Rican Day Parade said that he hopes to replace the festive celebration with an event that honors the lives that have been lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If we do something, it won’t be a Puerto Rican Day Parade,” said Dennis Flores, who runs the grassroots organization El Grito. “I think that it would be appropriate for the community to come together and make some space for people that have died.”