Coney Island has always had a flair for the old-fashioned, with its wooden roller coaster and parachute jump. The Mermaid Parade is no exception.
The event - dubbed "Brooklyn’s answer to Mardi Gras" by the New York Daily News - turned 30 this year. Parade-goers were just as salacious as ever, decked out in hand-made costumes (some of which consisted mostly of body paint) of mermaids and various other sea creatures. Floats of lighthouses and amusement rides (seriously! One of the FAQ questions on the parade's official website asks "I'm building a float that's a 1:1 model of the Parachute Jump. Will I have clearance to march it on the street?") also abound.
Each year, a celebrity king and queen rule over the proceedings "cutting through Ribbons representing the seasons, and tossing fruit into the Atlantic to appease the Sea Gods," according to the parade website. Judges hand out prizes for the best outfits, and they are not above reproach. Again, according to the site:
Our Judges are paradigms of fine jurisprudence, and as such actively discourage all bribes. Having said that, in year's past there have been isolated incidences of bribery. And coincidentally it seems many of those proffering the best bribes seems to often go home with the top awards. And it is also a coincidence that many of those awards appear to be a bit greasy -- this clearly being a function of the culinary delights of Coney rather than some kind of metaphorical greasy palm.
Below, pictures of the parade by Reuters photographer Eric Thayer.
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