- Posted June 21, 2014 by
Coney Island, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Splish Splash—It’s Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
The Mermaid Parade takes place on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice and like Mardi Gras the parade features outrageous costumes, women topless except for paint or pasties, and the most festive atmosphere between here and the Big Easy.
Thousands line Surf Avenue each year, but it would have been hard to picture New York’s last mayor, Michael Bloomberg, out here rocking the fins. However, the city’s current mayor, Bill De Blasio, not only showed up Saturday, but wore a puffy pirate shirt and brandished a fake sword. Organizers say he's the first mayor to come in costume. The mayor’s children also took a hand, with son Dante and daughter Chiara serving as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid, roles held in the past by such celebrities as Lou Reed, Harvey Keitel, and Queen Latifah.
How popular is the parade? Last year the city originally refused to dedicate Sanitation Department manpower to the clean up due to cost overruns from Hurricane Sandy. Undeterred, event supports began a kickstarter page. In just the first two days, more than $34,000 was raised and the overall goal of $100,000 was reached with ease.