If I had to sum up this year’s 34th annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade in three words they would be: color, smiles, and authenticity.
This is unique event had no agenda other than to celebrate the beginning of summer in the city and all the colorful characters that live here. Yesterday, as I stood in awe of the elaborate costumes, the thing that stood out to me the most was the amount of joy and love that radiated from everyone at (and in) the parade. We were there to laugh, to smile, to simply have fun!
Every group interpreted the mermaid theme in their own special way from the “Star(fish) Wars” to the “Barnacle Babes” to the “Mermaids of a Certain Age.” There were people of all ages, all backgrounds, all ethnicities, and all orientations gathered to dance together under the crystal clear blue sky.
Personally, I was incredibly inspired by the women and men who don’t fit societies “ideal body type” that were owning it and letting it all hang out. And I mean literally letting it ALL hang out. Everyone was so confident and authentic! No one appeared at all concerned with the shape of their body, the instead were focused solely on enjoying every moment of the parade. Their joy and ease was infectious.
After the parade we grabbed some yummy clam chowder and fried calamari from Nathan’s Famous, the location of the infamous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest! We ate as we strolled along beach, weaving between the hundreds of mermaids as they gave their tails a rest and wilted under the sun’s rays.
One young mermaid summed up the day’s purpose with a quote on her back that read,
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
In the midst of a week of terrifying headlines I felt the love. I felt hope. It was a good day.
Peace & Love,