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Mermaid Parade Barry Yanowitz

Coney Island Mermaid Parade, June 20, 2009. Photo © Barry Yanowitz

The 32nd Annual Mermaid Parade gets rolling on Saturday at 1:00pm. The free event is one of the most hugely crowded days of the year in Coney Island. If you’re not marching, where are the best places to spectate and take photos? Anywhere along Surf Avenue from the parade’s starting point at West 21st Street to West 10th Street, where it turns to go onto the Boardwalk. You’ll miss the antique cars and motorized floats if you opt for the backdrop of the Cyclone on West 10th and the seaside atmosphere of the boardwalk. This year, the parade disbands at Steeplechase Plaza, where the Parachute Jump is located on the boardwalk at West 17th Street.

Mermaid Parade Barry Yanowitz

Coney Island Mermaid Parade, June 19, 2010. Photo © Barry Yanowitz

ATZ asked photographer Barry Yanowitz, who grew up in Coney Island and whose splendid photos from past parades are featured in this post, to share his strategy for Saturday. “On the parade route itself, my favorite spot is across from Nathan’s – that makes a great backdrop. The only problem is that this spot gets very crowded very fast so you have to stake out a spot early.” Yes, it bears repeating. GET THERE EARLY. Latecomers will not be able to navigate due to the crowds and crossing Surf Avenue while parade is in progress is iffy due to NYPD barricades. (more…)

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The view from the reviewing stand. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The view from the reviewing stand. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Thanks to the generosity of artist Deb Stern, who bought “Big Spender” memberships with Coney Island USA for several friends, we were once again entitled to a fun judgeship at the Mermaid Parade. From our front row seat in the tarp covered reviewing stand, we were able to take lots of photos and partake in the traditional bribing of the judges.

The first bribe of the Mermaid Parade? The Chief Justice pouring rum. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The first bribe of the Mermaid Parade? The Chief Justice pouring rum. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The rum came compliments of Topsy the Merman and Turvy the Mermaid. Cheers, everybody! Other bribes offered to the judges were beer, vodka, more beer, chocolate cake, beer, lubricants, play money, glow in the dark octopus toy, more beer, more vodka, lemonade, the Book of Mermon, rum balls, and finally more beer. The most unusual bribe was probably the wooden boat with no engines and in need of structural repair. It was offered by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra who said show up with a tugboat and it’s yours. Are there any other interesting bribes we haven’t heard about?

King Neptune Harvey Keitel and Queen Mermaid Daphna Kastner arriving at the reviewing stand. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

King Neptune Harvey Keitel and Queen Mermaid Daphna Kastner arriving at the reviewing stand. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Actor Harvey Keitel, who grew up in Brighton Beach and went to Lincoln High School, came home to Coney Island as King Neptune! His lovely wife, the actress Daphna Kastner, was Queen Mermaid. It is the custom for the Mermaid Parade’s King and Queen to take their seats on the reviewing stand after touring the parade route in an antique rolling chair from the Coney Island Museum. Once upon a time these wicker chairs were used to transport visitors on the Boardwalk.

The Mayor of Coney sez put picnic basket bribe right here! Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

The Mayor of Coney Dick Zigun sez put picnic basket bribe right here! June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Bambi the Mermaid and her friend (pictured above) assisted with the receiving of the bribes. The picnic basket, reportedly one of the best bribes of the day, was from the Sexcamaids dancing troupe. When Dick opened the picnic basket, we beheld a beautifully designed menu. Then a Sexcamaid poured us cups of lemonade from an ice cold pitcher. Classy!

The Book of Mermon at the Mermaid Parade. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

"The Book of Mermon" at the Mermaid Parade. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Good news from the Church of Lobster Day Shells courtesy of the Mermon marching group. My fellow judge was presented with the book. I was busy elsewhere taking photos when it happened, so I’m not sure if it was a bribe or proselytizing.

It was a Great Parade! A huge thank you to Everyone at CIUSA, and to King Neptune and Queen Mermaid, Emcees Kay Sera & Chris, Paraders, and to the Deity who made it stop raining soon after the parade reached the reviewing stand and for the duration of the parade! Here are some of my favorite pix from my 2009 Mermaid Parade set on flickr. I’m still processing and uploading the images. I took more than 100 photos! More to come…

Roller skating mermaid. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Roller skating mermaid. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mother & daughter mermaids (# 67). June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mother & daughter mermaids (# 67). June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mrs. Chief Justice & Associate Chief Justice for Little Mermaids. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mrs. Chief Justice & Associate Chief Justice for Little Mermaids. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Pirate Boy. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Pirate Boy. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Day of the Dead Mermaids. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Day of the Dead Mermaids. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

A Coney Island Mermaids Hug. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

A Coney Island Mermaid's Hug. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

June 16, 2011: Last Chance to See Mermaid Parade Before It Turns 30!

January 2, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk, New Year’s Day 2010

July 6, 2009: Q & A with Zoltar: Coney Island Mermaid Parade’s Best Fortunetelling Float!

June 19, 2009: Q & A with Coney Island Mermaid Parade Three-Time “Best Mermaid” Kate Dale

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