Disguised as pirates, sailors, fish, molluscs, octopuses, mermen and mermaids, especially mermaids, thousands of people participated this Saturday on New York’s Coney Island beach in the mythical Mermaid Parade, after a two-year hiatus for the pandemic, and which marks the unofficial start of the summer.
“I’ve been participating for 30 years, every year,” Laura, a 60-year-old mermaid wearing a matching hat with the shells that serve as her bra, told Efe excitedly.
For Laura, a “breast cancer survivor” participating in the parade “rejuvenates” her. “It shows me that life is wonderful and that all the people here have their own energy, an energy that we all need to share,” stresses this woman who has moved from Long Island County to join the Neptunes, jellyfish and other marine fauna that participates in the event.
The so-called “Mermaid Parade”, which this season celebrates its fortieth anniversary, is celebrated coinciding with the summer solstice and was created by the artist Dick Zigun, who defined it as “the best day of the year”, in which cites people with “wild creativity”.
A creativity and also a disinhibition when it comes to dressing that floods everything on this New York shore, a few meters from the roller coaster and the Ferris wheel from where you can contemplate the ocean in its extension and see the distant profile of the skyscrapers of Manhattan .
Along Surf Avenue, which runs parallel to the mythical Coney Island amusement park, paraded floats, music bands, troupes and people dressed as products from the sea or from their imagination, including Miss New York who concluded their march on the seafront.
But the party overflows the official route and beyond the fences, costumes of all kinds and glitter that invades everything and leaves a trail that reaches the subway cars, where a French mother on her way to the march explains to their children that the party is characterized by the presence of numerous people from the LGTBI community and “nudity”.
This year’s mermaid queen and king neptune fell on the Mx artist Justin Vivian Bond and the former New York municipal director of Health, Dave Chokshi, the public figure most linked to the fight against the covid-19 pandemic in the city .
After the parade, each year a ritual is held in front of the sea that officially kicks off the bathing season and, of course, a party where the party continues until before midnight and in which the winners of the costume contest.