The crazy, costumed and always contagiously fun Mermaid Parade kicked off in Coney Island this past weekend, bringing in its one-of-a-kind crowd for the 34th year in a row.
This year saw no shortage of creative floats and costumes, and definitely no shortage of paradegoers, said Parade Founder Dick Zigun.
“The weather was wonderful, the art was fantastic as usual, there were no arrests, no one was sent to the hospital, it was a no-crime day,” Zigun explained. “I think the crowd size was estimated at around 630,000 so I’m pretty pleased with the day.”
While 630,000 sounds like a hefty crowd, Zigun maintains that the parade has gone even bigger in past years – three or four years ago in particular bringing in about 800,000 people, he said.
Keeping with the over three decades of tradition, the parade – which marched along Surf Avenue from West 21st to West 10th Street before concluding at Steeplechase Plaza – crowned a King Neptune and a Queen Mermaid. This year, the lucky pair was Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce crowned as King Neptune and swimsuit model Hailey Clauson as Queen Mermaid.
“All I can say is when you’ve been King Neptune, you know you’ve made it in Brooklyn,” said Scissura. “Not only did I get to wear an epic costume, but I could not have asked for a better Mermaid Queen to partner with than Hailey Clauson. The Mermaid Parade is one of the greatest days for the borough and Coney Island, and a time for all Brooklynites and New Yorkers to come together and be who we are.”
Dating back to 1983, the parade is described by Coney Island USA (founded by Zigun) as an artist-inspired event made with the goal of fostering artists’ self-expression, bringing mythology to life for Coney Island locals, and creating self-esteem in a district “often disregarded as ‘entertainment.’”