On the Avenue: Mermaids, military heroes draw crowds

What do mermaids and military heroes have in common? They both drew cheers from spectators “on the avenue” as part of well-attended parades this month.

The 41st Annual Mermaid Parade took place on Saturday, June 17 in Coney Island, drawing huge crowds of costumed marchers and spectators to Surf Avenue to enjoy the lively festivities. Legendary Hip-Hop recording artist Kool Keith was selected as King Neptune, waving to onlookers and fans along the route. The Queen Mermaid was none other than Laurie Cumbo, commissioner of cultural affairs for the City of New York. Her colorful costume paid tribute to Halle Bailey of “The Little Mermaid” fame.

This mermaid’s costume left others green with envy! AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

It was a sight to behold, for sure, and an example of the creativity and flair that defines so many residents and neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

Then this past weekend, the 116th Annual Brooklyn American Independence Day Parade stepped off “on the avenue” following mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 526 59th St.

A line of march composed of military and police officials and groups, local schoolchildren and civic organizations marched proudly along Fifth Avenue toward 43rd Street, spreading patriotic joy to spectators along the parade route.

Army Lt. Col. Richard A. Szabo, commander of the New York Military Entrance Processing Station, served as the grand marshal. His lengthy and distinguished career includes deployments to Iraq and Kosovo. Rev. Michael Gelfant, pastor of Blessed Trinity Church and deputy chief chaplain of the MTA, received the prestigious Pro Patria Award.

There were plenty of American flags being waved by parade goers along the avenue, a nice sight to see as the nation prepares its July 4 festivities to mark 247 years of independence.

Patriotic onlookers wave American flags as the Brooklyn Independence Day Parade makes its way down Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park. Photo by John Quaglione

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