Monsoons and Mermaids

windows fogged over
rainy, humid morning ride
taking me downtown
April spilled into mid-June
Esos dias de lluvia

(Is it cheating to throw a Spanish line into my tanka?  Maybe.  Full disclosure: I’m not still writing one a day, but I am still writing.)

Today is the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade, and today’s mermaids will need to be waterproof.  One of my years in the parade was ridiculously soggy.  Even when showering, I’ve never been so wet as that year!  Today won’t be that bad, but it won’t be the fabulous, full-sun, clear-sky kind of day that brings out huge crowds of sea people and onlookers.

The parade is one of the craziest, most fun things I’ve participated in.  It’s a little shocking, a little outrageous, a little bawdy … and just a flat-out fabulous time.  It’s also quite a testament to how safe it can be here in my city.  Think about it: hundreds of naked and nearly-naked ladies surrounded by crowds of often quite inebriated men … and nothing bad happens.  So excellent.  Getting on the subway this afternoon, I saw three young women in costume, transferring to the express train to get out to Coney Island.  Hurray for the mer-folk!

baby mermaidEveryone gets into the act!

maria and claire I actually know two of these mer-girls, and have ridden on floats with them in the past!


mer girlYou know you’re wishing you were at the parade! 


mer manAnd guys?  The dress-up (or down) fun isn’t just for the ladies!


shrimp cocktails

These are the “Shrimp Cocktails,” one of the groups we got to know during my first parade in 2001!



 And here is my dear friend, Natasha, in one of her final performances before she passed.  She charmed everyone that year, even inspired a photographer to climb up onto our float just to get better pictures of her!

(No, I’m not posting any pictures of me from the parade.  Those, I think, are better left offline!)


5 thoughts on “Monsoons and Mermaids

    1. Oh, the parade is so much fun. Maybe you guys could come down for one! It’s always the first Saturday of summer. And as for the pictures of me … well, I don’t think I’m ready to expose that much of myself on this blog!!


  1. that’s not fair! is your costume glittery, sparkly, shiny? slinky? I’ve always been fascinated by mermaids (not the Disney kind)…glad you’re back online.


    1. My costumes were all different kinds — sequins, corsets, metallic spandex … you name it! I, too, love mermaids. And the parade is so very much fun. I love to see all the ways people find to make themselves up. And thanks for the welcome back!


  2. molly

    Long before Disney, when I was so, so young, I used to swim underwater with my legs squeezed together, pretending to be a mermaid. It’s one of the alternate realities that I realy desired at various times in my life.
    Thank you for these lovely photos and description of city people treating each other right.


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