Mermaids on Parade
Every June, women in Brooklyn clear the algae out of their nets and buff their clam-shell bras to a high sheen in preparation for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. I’ve always been curious about this event (who wouldn’t be?) and jumped at the chance when my friend Aubrey, a 7-year Mermaid veteran, suggested we join her crew for the day. She warned me there would be excessive glitter and exposed boobies in our future.
Homegirl wasn’t lyin’.
Because I am vertically challenged, I saw very little (practically nothing) of the actual parade, so a lot of these shots were taken by a friend named Mike who has a great camera and a height advantage. But really, you didn’t need to see the official parade to partake in the revelry.
This place needed more people like a fish needs a bicycle. Yuk, yuk, yuk.
I wore the closest thing I own to a mermaid-ish outfit. Jeans and a turquoise halter top. Before leaving the house, I got a little nervous because I worried that anyone taller than me (aka: almost everyone) would be able to see down my shirt, which incidentally, I couldn’t wear with a bra. Turns out I worried for nothing, as people’s eyes had a lot more candy to ingest than my modest little tank top had to offer.
I learned pretty quickly that the Mermaid Parade is not so much about marine life as it is about nakedness. You like to be sorta naked? This is the place for you. You like to see half-naked people? Step right up! This place is candyland for exhibitionists and voyeurs, and both groups worked symbiotically to make the day one to remember.
If you had a camera, there was someone very willing to step in front of it, and it didn’t really matter if they looked nothing like a mermaid. It was the Mean Girls Halloween slut rule in full effect, but the girls were dressed even more scantily because it’s June, not October.
Everyone was panting over all the hot chicks.
This one looked like Marie Antoinette at a Lady Gaga concert.
And these girls must have spent many a chilly night in those frigid Alaskan waters. I bet those furry boots got awful heavy on their swim to Brooklyn.
While walking around the boardwalk, I spotted this adoring couple. This was the precise moment I stopped worrying about people seeing down my halter top.
And started wondering what some of these people do for a living. This girl looks repressed. I’m guessing she’s a tax accountant forced to wear slacks and blazers every day.
And this one definitely takes the stairs in lieu of the elevator on the way to her dental practice.
I think this guy works construction. He has very defined arms.
She probably makes a very enthusiastic kindergarten teacher.
And this is your rabbi on his day off. Be polite and say shalom.
This guy is gonna wake up and be very sorry about all the free boob ogling he missed.
And this girl is definitely a therapist, simply delighted by the many variations of human behavior.
Photos by Much to My Delight, Michael Ou and Vin Burich.