outdoors & recreation

2009 Mermaid Parade: Wet But Festive

by Emily Gordon • Photos by Malcolm Brown

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  • If there's one population that doesn't get scared off by a little rain, it's mermaids. Not to mention pirates, Medusas, sea-creature sculptors, men dressed in incongruous but festive Lucha Libre masks, the fortune-telling Zoltar Speaks machine from Big, lifeguards, bathing-beauty pinups, stilt-walkers and all the other celebrants of the annual Mermaid Parade in Coney Island (consider Carolann Armstrong, pictured, who dressed as a coral reef for the occasion). Despite dire predictions of severe thunderstorms, crowds and parade volunteers—damp but undaunted—still lined the sides of Surf Avenue to watch the floats, marching bands, beaming children with green tails, a team dressed as Cyclone roller-coaster cars, King Neptune Harvey Keitel and Queen Mermaid Daphna Kastner and, of course, the mountains of glitter that mark this always vibrant day in the life of Brooklyn. The parade, begun by the nonprofit arts organization Coney Island USA in 1983, goes on rain or shine. Despite the rain, the photos that follow will leave no doubt as to the shine.

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