Coney Island Mermaid Parade: Fascinating New York City Event!

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

What I love most about travel is when you have an unexpected surprise thrown your way. Although pleasant surprises are certainly more appreciated than negative ones, I think a healthy dose of both really help you to grow as an individual.

Upon hearing about the Mermaid Parade from our New York City host, we decided to head all the way over to Cony Island from the top of Manhattan to check it out.

This annual mid June event, held since 1983, is one heck of a quirky parade focused primarily on the celebration of the arrival of summer.

Regardless of the weather, hundreds of thousands converge to either participate or witness what is going on.

What actually happens might you ask? In a nutshell, a whole lot of everything.

I witnessed signing, dancing, brawling and serious people watching. Performers were decked out in out of this world marine costumes with some choosing to wear less than others 😉 You’ll definitely spot some going completely topless and a few bare bums along the way. The central theme is around Mermaids and sea creatures and what the performers are wearing puts Halloween costumes to shame.

Paying homage to Coney Island Mardi Gras parades this colorful spectacle is eye candy for those watching and absolute gold for the photographer/video enthusiast. I could barely put my camera down; however, I did make sure to take a few moments just to witness what was going on with my own two eyes.

Coney Island Mermaid Parade in New York City
Coney Island Mermaid Parade in New York City

History Of The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is an absolutely incredible annual celebration that takes place in the heart of the iconic Coney Island neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York! It is a breathtaking display of artistic talent and an explosion of marine-themed costumes and designs that will leave you absolutely speechless.

Can you believe that the very first Mermaid Parade took place back in 1983, when a group of local artists from Coney Island USA came together to create an unforgettable experience for the community? From that very first event, the Mermaid Parade was an instant hit, with thousands of people flocking to witness the magic.

And let me tell you, the Mermaid Parade has only gotten better and bigger over the years, drawing participants and spectators from all over the world. It has become one of the most iconic cultural events in New York City, showcasing the incredible diversity, creativity, and artistic talent of the community.

Of course, there have been some challenges along the way, including financial difficulties and weather-related issues, but nothing can stop the passion and enthusiasm of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. And even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the parade came back in 2021 with renewed energy and modifications to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators.

In short, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade is an absolute must-see event that captures the unique spirit and history of Coney Island and New York City. It is a celebration of art, creativity, community, and the joy of living life to the fullest. So, if you ever have the chance to attend, I can guarantee that it will be an experience that you will never forget!

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Mermaid Parade Photo Essay

Colorful mermaid watching the Coney Island Mermaid Parade in New York City

Colorful mermaid watching the Coney Island Mermaid Parade in New York City

One of many vintage cars that were making their way down the Coney Island Mermaid Parade

One of many vintage cars that were making their way down the Coney Island Mermaid Parade

A highly animated Mermaid parader driving a nice racing car down the street in New York City

A highly animated Mermaid parader driving a nice racing car down the street in New York City

A group of paraders decked out in fancy marine costumes at the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, New York City.

A group of paraders decked out in fancy marine costumes at the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, New York City.

Uncle Sam was at The Mermaid Parade on Coney Island New York City

Uncle Sam was at The Mermaid Parade on Coney Island New York City

A little girl sitting on top of her Dad's shoulders watching the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

A little girl sitting on top of her Dad’s shoulders watching the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

A New York City baseball mascot pointing at the crowd as it parades down the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

A New York City baseball mascot pointing at the crowd as it parades down the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

A performer in a Mermaid costume waving as she walks down the street in New York City

A performer in a Mermaid costume waving as she walks down the street in New York City

A Mermaid parader looking for a few good seamen

A Mermaid parader looking for a few good seamen

Mermaid Parade Guide

When does The Mermaid Parade happen?  Mid to late June annually

How much does it cost to attend Coney Island Mermaid Parade?  Nada!  It is absolutely FREE

What should I bring with me to the parade?  A hat, sunscreen, water and camera/video equipment

How many people attend?  Hundreds of thousands come to watch and thousands perform

How do I get there?  Take the metro from anywhere in New York via Brooklyn to Coney Island

Do you recommend I check it out?  Absolutely!  I’d go again myself if I ever have the opportunity 😉

Transportation To The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Getting to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade is an exciting and easy adventure! There are several transportation options available that will help you get to the heart of the action.

One option is to take the subway, which is the most convenient and affordable way to get to Coney Island. The D, F, N, and Q subway lines all stop at the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue station, which is just a short walk from the parade route. You can also take the B36, B68, or B74 buses to Coney Island, which will drop you off right near the parade route.

If you prefer to drive, there are several parking lots in the area where you can park your car. However, keep in mind that parking can be limited and expensive on the day of the parade, so it’s best to arrive early or consider alternative transportation.

Another exciting option is to take the ferry to Coney Island! The NYC Ferry operates a route that stops at the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue station, providing a scenic and unique way to get to the parade. Plus, you’ll get stunning views of the city skyline and the coastline as you make your way to Coney Island.

No matter which transportation option you choose, be sure to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to get to the parade. The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is an unforgettable experience that you won’t want to miss, so make sure you arrive with plenty of time to spare and soak up all the fun and excitement!

A Little Poem

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade,
A wonderland of sea and sand,
A dazzling display of art and costume,
That will leave you breathless and grand.

The mermaids glide down Surf Avenue,
With tails that glisten in the sun,
Their scales reflecting all the colors,
Of the sea from which they’ve come.

The music thunders all around,
As drumbeats echo through the air,
And crowds of people gather ’round,
To see the mermaids everywhere.

The joy and laughter fill the air,
As sea creatures of every kind,
Dance and sway to the rhythm,
Of the parade that’s so divine.

And as the day turns into night,
The party only just begins,
As revelers gather on the beach,
To celebrate and make new friends.

So come and join the mermaids,
In this oceanic parade,
Where dreams become reality,
And magic never fades.

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade,
A world of wonder and delight,
A celebration of the sea and art,
That will keep you shining bright.

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  1. says: Cab Berkeley

    The Mermaid Parade is the largest art parade in the nation. A celebration of ancient mythology and honky-tonk rituals of the seaside, it showcases over 1,500 creative individuals from all over the five boroughs and beyond, opening the summer with incredible art, entrepreneurial spirit and community pride. The parade highlights Coney Island Pageantry based on a century of many Coney parades, celebrates the artistic vision of the masses, and ensures that the summer season is a success by bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the amusement area in a single day.

  2. says: Alouise

    The Mermaid Parade looks like a blast. I was in NYC in June a few years ago, but I think I missed the parade by a few days, will need to go back and check it out one day.