Mermaids Come to Coney Island

The 36th Annual Mermaid Parade was held in Coney Island on June 16, 2018. || All photos by Wes Parnell.

The 36th Annual Mermaid Parade was held in Coney Island on June 16, 2018. || All photos by Wes Parnell.


Sequins of every color, mermaids, a killer robot and thousands of spectators flocked to Coney Island for the 36th annual Mermaid Day Parade.

The Parade took place this past Saturday at 1 pm with mermaid festivities and drinking like fish lasting well into the night. Beginning on 21st and going down Surf Avenue, the parade included bagpipes, dancers, pirates, robots and of course, mermaids. Some of them on stilts. Oh, and a dog on a skateboard.

For New York residents like Dolores Anne, the parade provided her “a reason to get out of the house.”

For other residents like, Samantha Lagler, 31, the parade was way to relive a part of her personality.

“I came here today because I was a mermaid in a past life,” Lagler said.

Mermaids of all sorts, shapes, and sizes flooded the Boardwalk. Beyoncé Miller, a Brookyn resident, self-identified as a “cheecho Mermaid,” Miller explained that meant she is a mermaid that is “fat,” “sexy,” and has “love handles.”

Posing for a photo with her friends, Beyoncé Miller paused and said, “Wait, let me put my shells on first.”


As thousands of spectators and mermaids flocked Coney Island, many struggled to get a view of the parade. Statements like “Put some pep in your step, your not actually mermaids” or “I honestly don’t know what is happening, I think I’m being pushed to the ground,” and “Excuse me, happy mermaid coming through,” were heard as mermaids and fans struggled to get a view of the parade.

The Mermaid parade, a fun, crowded, partly nude but family-friendly environment, has collected a lot of meaning and significance for New York residents over the years. Katherine Marotta, 70 years old, explained that she had just lost her son in March. The Mermaid Parade was his favorite parade of the year.

 Angelina Marotta,13, (left) and her grandmother, Katherine Marotta, 70, attending the 36th anual Mermaid Day Parade, on June 16, in New York. Photo: Wes Parnell

Standing behind a large crowd, the parade out of her line of view, Marotta explained, “I am here for him this year.”

Marotta’s granddaughter, Angeline Marotta, 13 years old, did not share in the sentiment.

“It’s terrible,” Angeline Marotta said. “I don’t like it because you can’t see and there are too many people.”

Like many things New York, particularly Coney Island, The Mermaid Parade is a mixed bag of goods. It is crowded lines, drunk people with no shirts on, families with kids sitting on their father’s shoulders, and moments created and shared in the form of “flipper-ant” activities and timeless memories.