Mermaids (and Others) On Parade


Artezine's intrepid editor ventures forth to the wilds of Coney Island

to view the wonders of the Mermaid Parade and declare a winner!

Madeline And Mo

On The N Train

Green Breasts

Mermaids (and Others) on Parade

by Robert Sievert

Every year the official opening of Coney Island is the MERMAID PARADE. An event every New Yorker sees annually on local TV news. This year there is a controversial conflict between the City who wants to put condos, and the defenders of the AMUSEMENT AREA to what some believe is the logistical center of the CONEY ISLAND SPIRIT: that raucous, in your face, hurly-burly excitement of rides, flesh and food.

Artist DEB STERN threw a JUDGE'S party and invited a very congenial group for the day. I was excited just to be seeing the parade yet alone being a Judge.


The Prizewinner

Big Girls

Big Pink

Body Painters

The Broadway Bombshells

Family Fun

My experience began getting on the N train at the Fort Hamilton Station. Across the car sat two lovely Mermaids, one Madeleine (spelt just like the cookie she said) and the other, Mo. These scantily clad beauties were the attention of the car. When I explained that I was going to be a judge they graciously allowed me to photograph them. There was a mystical element involved; these were not just New York ladies, they had crossed over into Mermaid Land, where girls become sacred vessels and displayed their holy charms to bless the masses.

The train pulled into Coney Island and the party began. All around were mermaids, ladies with exposed breasts, painted breasts, false breasts and the most cross-dressing I have seen to date. As I hit Surf Avenue it washed over me like a wave: that Coney Island Feverish feeling: salt air, mingling with the scent of beer, food and the outrageous display of flesh. I forgot how exciting it was.

Fish, Drunk

Gorilla Girl

The Judges' Stand



Marie Antoinettes

Mermaid Ball Banner

The Judges' stand was several blocks down from the station and I enjoyed every step of the walk. The Judges' stand had an awning over it; yet by late afternoon the sun was hitting our seats. The parade began with a long boring line of cars, some classic antiques and other just souped-up specials. You had to like cars to get off on this. When the real parade began it was like an ever-opening flower. Mermaid after Mermaid paraded past us. Special groups of Marchers stopped in front of the stand to perform a routine, The Broadway Bombshells did a chorus line number with kicks and grinds, while another group, The Marie Antoinettes, all had high powdered wigs and boudoir scanties. At the conclusion of their number a "Marie" was put in a mock Guillotine and was playfully beheaded.

On A Bus

On A Float

On Parade

On Skates

Pink-Haired Beauty


There were devils, witches, sex slaves, but mostly lady after lady with exposed breasts. I also saw a lot of guy stuff. Popeye was there, a Hulk-like character and many King Neptunes; this event really rivaled the Village Halloween Parade but had the added luster of Coney Island.

And of course there was the MERMAID BALL. This was on the Boardwalk in a huge gutted brick hall that was formerly "Childs Restaurant. Here belly dance seemed to reign. On the stage for most of the time was an exotic beauty in belly-dance attire (almost, she just had spangles on her breasts) Her energy lifted the crowd into frenzy. Other women in Belly Dance outfits dotted the half-dressed crowd as we gyrated mindlessly into the night....


Red And Green

Red Devil

Copyright © 2008 Robert Sievert