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Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Coney Island Mermaid Parade
The word mermaid followed by letters for the word parade in circles
VenueConey Island Boardwalk
Location(s)Coney Island, New York
CountryUnited States
InauguratedJune 1983 (1983-06)
FounderDick Zigun[1]
Most recentJune 18, 2022
WebsiteConey Island Mermaid Parade

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is an art parade held annually in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York. The event, the largest art parade in the United States, is held each year in June and celebrates the arrival of the summer season. Created and produced by the non-profit arts organization Coney Island USA, the 40th annual parade was held on June 18, 2022.[4]


1998 Parade
Video from the 2019 parade

The Mermaid Parade traditionally takes place on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice, June 21, regardless of weather. Its intent is to celebrate self-expression, boost pride in Coney Island, and give New York artists a place to display their artwork. There are no ethnic, religious, or commercial aims.[5]

The parade pays homage to the Coney Island Mardi Gras parades of the early 20th century. During this era, Coney Island was the primary amusement park destination for those in the New York metropolitan area. Like the annual Village Halloween Parade, the Mermaid Parade evokes the artistic spirit of Mardi Gras.

The event typically attracts about 3,000 participants and hundreds of thousands of spectators from all five boroughs of New York City.[5] After the last participant passes the reviewing stand, parade founder Dick Zigun leads the procession to the beach for a ceremony representing the opening of the ocean for the summer swimming season.[6][7][8]


The tradition began in 1983, when the first event of this kind was conceptualized and organized by Dick Zigun, the founder of the non-profit arts organization Coney Island USA, who is sometimes dubbed the "Mayor of Coney Island.[9][10]

The parade of June 22, 2013 was almost canceled due to a lack of money and resources following the recovery from Hurricane Sandy. It was rescued through a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $117,000, more than the $100,000 goal.[11][12]

The 2020 parade was replaced by a virtual event (The Tail-a-Thon) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The parade was delayed in 2021 to September 12 (marking the last weekend that lifeguards would be on duty at Coney Island) in order to improve the chances that it could be held, but on August 18 it was announced that the parade would be cancelled out of an abundance of caution due to a resurgence of COVID-19 in the region.[13]


The Mermaid Parade is known for marine costumes and occasional nudity.[14][15] There are sections in the parade for vehicles of all kinds, for floats, for groups, and for individuals. The organizers of the parade claim to encourage bribery, so that participants have a better chance to win the various costume contests, which are also part of the day's entertainment.

Each year the Mermaid Parade features a King Neptune and Queen Mermaid.[16]

Annual Year King Neptune Queen Mermaid
1st 1983 Al Mottola Alison Gordy
2nd 1984 Joe Franklin Jeanne Becker
3rd 1985 Dan Lurie Sandra Frankel
4th 1986 John Bradshaw Noni
5th 1987 Henry Stern Barbara Walz
6th 1988 Michael Wilson Phoebe Legere
7th 1989 David Smalls Ilana Iguana
8th 1990 Mr. Fashion Wendy Wild
9th 1991 El Vez Lynda Barry
10th 1992 Richard Eagan Daisy Eagan
11th 1993 - Karen Duffy
12th 1994 Jose Gutierrez Rosemary Di Pietra
13th 1995 Spyro Poulos Shut-Up Shelly
14th 1996 Fred Kahl Kiva Kahl
15th 1997 Ron Kuby Jennifer Miller
16th 1998 David Byrne The World Famous *BOB*
17th 1999 Curtis Sliwa Queen Latifah
18th 2000 Rabbi Abraham Abraham Katya Kahl
19th 2001 Hector Camacho Jr. Kembra Pfahler
20th 2002 Marty Markowitz Toni Senecal
21st 2003 Bill Evans Kate Duyn
22nd 2004 Moby Theo Kogan
23rd 2005 David Johansen Karmen Guy
24th 2006 Abel Ferrara Bambi the Mermaid
25th 2007 Adam Savage Patti D'Arbanville
26th 2008 Reverend Billy Talen Savitri Durkee
27th 2009 Harvey Keitel Daphne Kastner
28th 2010 Lou Reed Laurie Anderson
29th 2011 Adam Richman Cat Greenleaf
30th 2012 Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling Annabella Sciorra
31st 2013 Judah Friedlander Carole Radziwill
32nd 2014 Dante de Blasio Chiara de Blasio
33rd 2015 Mat Fraser Julie Atlas Muz
34th 2016 Carlo A. Scissura Hailey Clauson
35th 2017 Chris Stein Deborah Harry
36th 2018 Neil Gaiman Amanda Palmer
37th 2019 Arlo Guthrie Nora Guthrie
38th 2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19
39th 2021 Cancelled again due to COVID-19
40th 2022 Dave Chokshi Justin Vivian Bond
41st 2023 - Laurie Cumbo


See also


  1. ^ "Coney Island USA Presents: The 40th Annual Mermaid Parade". Coney Island USA. Archived from the original on 28 December 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  2. ^ Weaver, Shaye. "What to know about this year's Mermaid Parade". AM New York Metro. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Nautical weddings and more secrets of the Mermaid Parade". AM New York Metro. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Coney Island USA and the Coney Island Brewery Present: The 40th Annual Mermaid Parade | Coney Island USA". Archived from the original on 2019-05-25. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  5. ^ a b "Coney Island USA & Coney Island Brewery Present: The 36th Annual Mermaid Parade with co-presenter Kitchen 21 | Coney Island USA". Archived from the original on 25 May 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Nautical weddings and more secrets of the Mermaid Parade". AM New York Metro. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  7. ^ "6 Fast Facts On The 34th Annual Mermaid Parade". 2016-06-13. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  8. ^ "Coney Island USA Presents: The 40th Annual Mermaid Parade | Coney Island USA". 2021-12-28. Archived from the original on 2021-12-28. Retrieved 2021-12-28.
  9. ^ "Biography of Dick Zigun". Coney Island USA. Archived from the original on 2013-04-20. Retrieved 2007-08-17. Unofficial Mayor of Coney Island
  10. ^ Mooney, Jake (September 26, 2008). "What It Means to Be 'Mayor' of the Block". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Plitt, Amy (May 30, 2013). "Kickstarter success stories: Mermaid Parade, Gemini & Scorpio get funding". Time Out New York. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
  12. ^ Coney Island USA. "Save the Coney Island Mermaid from Extinction!". Kick Starter.
  13. ^ Yakas, Ben (2021-08-18). "2021 Coney Island Mermaid Parade Canceled Because Of COVID Concerns". Gothamist. Retrieved 2021-08-18.
  14. ^ it is legal in New York State for women to be topless in public
  15. ^ "Photos: 2010 Mermaid Parade (NSFW)". Time Out. June 21, 2010. Archived from the original on December 4, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
  16. ^ "Mermaid Parade Royalty". Retrieved 2023-08-15.
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Coney Island Mermaid Parade
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