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Posts Tagged ‘Mermaid Parade’

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Lollipop and Candy Mermaids. Coney Island Mermaid Parade, June 20, 2009. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

This Saturday is the 29th annual Mermaid Parade and if you’re anywhere near New York City, you should come out to Coney Island for the day. Take the D, F, N or Q to Stillwell Avenue and arrive well before the 2 pm start of the parade to pick out a spot on Surf Avenue or the Boardwalk.

If you’re in a faraway state or foreign country, there’s always next year. Of course, we’re joking about seeing the parade before it turns 30. The Mermaid Parade is a quirky Coney Island institution that gets better with age. It should be on your list of things to do before and after you turn 30.

Here’s our slide show from the 2010 Mermaid Parade, featuring our view from the judges stand. The pix are posted pretty much in chronological order, from the judges sitting in the empty stand before the parade to paraders walking east on a still barricaded and empty Surf Avenue after it was over.

This part of our post is for a friend of a friend, who is coming all the way from the Netherlands to play in Sunday’s Brooklyn Pinball Championship in Williamsburg. He was looking for “some advice as a tourist” in Brooklyn so here it is: It’s a big weekend in Coney Island, with the first fireworks of the season on Friday night at 9:30 pm and more fireworks on Saturday after the Brooklyn Cyclones’ season opener. If it’s your first time here– or your first time in a long time– check out the attractions and events listing on the Coney Island Fun Guide before you go.

ATZ’s must see-and-do list includes the landmark Cyclone and Wonder Wheel, the Eldorado Bumper cars, the Air Race in Luna Park, the new Sling Shot ride in Scream Zone, Coney Island USA’s ten-in-one circus sideshow, vintage films and photo exhibit at the Coney Island History Project, Tazo the Sea Otter at the Aquarium, the bars and businesses on the Bowery and Boardwalk, the original Nathan’s Famous, and Williams Candy or Denny’s Ice Cream for dessert!

Related posts on ATZ...

April 28, 2011: Photo of the Day: Denny’s Ice Cream & Eldorado Auto Skooter

April 22, 2011: Coney Island Has 64 Rides and 30 Weekends of Summer!

June 19, 2010: Happy Mermaid Day! Take the Subway or Submarine to the Parade

June 22, 2009: A Judge’s Photo Album of the 2009 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

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Today we’re taking a holiday break from news about Coney Island deconstruction and redevelopment to shine the spotlight on a new literary endeavor. Urban Haiku and More by Patricia Carragon, host of the Brooklyn-based Brownstone Poets, was just published by Fierce Grace Press. The poet is a member of Brevitas, a group dedicated to short poems, including haiku, senryu, hay(na)ku and other unrhymed tercet poetry.

The subject matter of Urban Haiku and More encompasses such everyday events as riding the New York City subway, thinking about one’s sex life, laughing and crying about being dateless, and –well we’re not sure this one is an everyday event—searching the Coney Island boardwalk for mermaids. The book is illustrated with Japanese-style watercolors of birds and flowers, but reading Carragon’s poems about Coney Island immediately brought to mind the rainy Mermaid Parade of 2009. Thanks to Barry Yanowitz for permission to use his evocative photos of the parade in this post.

weathermen predict
washout at Coney Island
mermaids drown in the storm

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2009.  Photo © Barry Yanowitz via flickr

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2009. Photo © Barry Yanowitz via flickr

Brooklyn mermaids
hiding under umbrellas
rain on their parade

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2009.  Photo © Barry Yanowitz via flickr

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2009. Photo © Barry Yanowitz via flickr

Coney Island storm
mermaids do breaststrokes
on boardwalk

Urban Haiku and More is available at BookCourt and upcoming book events:

Sunday, October 17 at 4 p.m. at The Bowery Poetry Club, – 308 Bowery, NYC 10012

Thursday, October 28 at 7 p.m. at Wyld Chyld Tattoo and Café – 1708 Sunrise Highway, Merrick, NY 11566

Tuesday, November 2 at 7 p.m. at the Perch Café – 365 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Urban Haiku and More
by Patricia Carragon
Illustrated by William L. Hays
saddle-stitched chapbook, 52pp, $7
Fierce Grace Press / 1515 Benton Blvd., #1727/ Pooler, GA 31322

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Mermaid Parade 2009: Metrocard Chrysler Building Mermaid. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Mermaid Parade 2009: Metrocard Chrysler Building Mermaid. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

If you’re coming to Coney Island to see the Mermaid Parade, we recommend taking the subway ( F, Q to West 8th Street; D, F, N, Q to Stillwell Ave) as this Metrocard Chrysler Building Mermaid did last year. Or take your submarine….

Mermaid Parade 2009: Yellow Submarine Merman. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Mermaid Parade 2009: Yellow Submarine Merman. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

If you want to avoid traffic jams, leave your car at home! Although parking is available at MCU Park, New York Aquarium and private lots, Mermaid Day is one of Coney’s busiest days of the season. If you must come by car and want to avoid traffic jams, we recommend parking a few subway stops away and then hopping on the train. Bicycling is also the way to go!

Mermaid Parade 2009: Rabbi Abraham Abraham & Bob Stewart of the Coney Island Ice Breakers.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Mermaid Parade 2009: Rabbi Abraham Abraham & Bob Stewart of the Coney Island Ice Breakers. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

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Calling all contestants! Among the Coney Island 2010 Season’s “first annual” events are the Miss Luna Mermaid Pageant, the Searching for Mr. Cyclone Contest and the Coney Island Talent Show. These brand new competitions join quirky favorites like the Mermaid Parade, Nathan’s 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, the Miss Coney Island Burlesque Beauty Pageant, the Coney Island Beard & Moustache Competition and the Tattoo & Motorcycle Show. Now all we need is for someone to bring back the Most Beautiful Baby Contest!

Miss Luna Mermaid Pageant, Luna Park NYC
Entry Deadline: June 12. Pageant: Wednesday, June 16, rescheduled for Thursday, June 17, 7 pm

Coney Island’s new Luna Park is staging its first-ever Miss Luna Mermaid Pageant on Wednesday June 16th Thursday, June 17th, at 7pm. One queen will be crowned Miss Luna Mermaid and along with four runners up will ride on Luna Park’s float in Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade on June 19. Contestants must be age 21-30 and will be judged in two categories, swimwear and talent. Be demure! “Please refrain from any talents or swimwear that is explicit and/or not appropriate for the viewership of all park guests.” Entry form and pageant rules on Luna Park’s website. Contact: kventre@caiparks.com, 718-373-LUNA (5862)

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The Mermaid Parade, Coney Island USA
Saturday, June 19, 2 pm; Register online or on site on the day of the parade starting at 10 am

Chief Justice pours first bribe of  Mermaid Parade. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Chief Justice pours first bribe of Mermaid Parade. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

If you’re a mermaid planning to join the parade, we recommend that you first read the FAQs on CIUSA’s site. Do not underestimate the importance of bribing the judges if you hope to win a prize. As a former Mermaid Parade judge we’ve received 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 that we know of was 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. Last year’s thread on the CIUSA Message Board about Traditional Bribing of the Judges is required reading. Or you could splurge on a judgeship, sit back and enjoy the parade. Happy Mermaid Day!

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Searching for Mr. Cyclone Contest, Cyclone Roller Coaster
Entry deadline: June 26 July 11. Pageant: Saturday, August 7, 12-3 pm

Miss Cyclone Angie Pontani on Coney Island's beach looking for Mr Cyclone. Photo © Charles Denson

Miss Cyclone Angie Pontani on Coney Island's beach looking for Mr Cyclone. Photo © Charles Denson

According to the contest guidelines, “The Cyclone knows no fear and neither should you in your quest to become the first ever MISTER CYCLONE in the history of the free world!” Contestants will be judged on strength, endurance, Coney Island wits, creativity, talent, style and romance.

To compete for the title of Mr. Cyclone, applicants must fill out an application on the contest webpage by June 26July 11. Contestants will be selected by a team of “Cyclone experts” to have a profile posted on the Cyclone roller coaster’s homepage, where the public will be invited to vote for their favorite and send the top 7 to the live competition in Coney Island on August 7th.

“Mr. Cyclone 2010” will take part in the Cyclone’s 2011 Opening Day Ceremonies, the Mermaid Parade, receive a season pass to the Cyclone Roller Coaster, throw out an opening pitch at a Brooklyn Cyclones game and revel in the glory of being Mr. Cyclone. Contact: misscyclone2010@gmail.com, 718-265-2100

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Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, Nathan’s Famous
Event: Sunday, July 4th, 12 noon, pre-show at 10:30 am

This summer will mark the 95th year of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, It’s too late to register for Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest qualifiers around the country, but on the Fourth of July you can join the crowd watching the contest live in Coney Island instead of on ESPN. Contact: International Federation of Competitive Eating

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Coney Island Talent Show, Thirsty Girl Productions
Entry deadline: July 7 July 16. Talent Show: Saturday, July 31, 4-8 pm

The first-ever Coney Island Talent Show on the Boardwalk has posted an open call for performers in five categories: Best Drag Performance or Celebrity Impersonator; Circus Freaks and Sideshow Geeks (including all variety, novelty acts); Dance Your Pants Off (including soloists, troupes & step teams); Creative Kids, 9-12 years; Sassy Seniors, 60 and up. According to the contest guidelines: “The sub-category in each level is Best Costume, so be sure and dress with pizazz to this Coney Island affair. Singing is encouraged for all categories!”

1st prize in each category will receive a cash prize of $200,  a season pass to participating Coney Island Amusements and an opportunity to perform live before a Brooklyn Cyclone’s Baseball Game, The 22nd Tattoo & Motorcycle Festival, or The 8th Annual New York Burlesque Festiva.l   2nd prize in each category will receive a cash prize of $50, and day passes to participating Coney Island Amusements.   3rd prize in each category will receive day passes to participating Coney Island Amusements.   The Best Dressed person in each category will receive a special mystery prize. The Best Dressed person in each category will receive a special mystery prize.

Contestants are asked to fill out an application on the website and post a video of their performance on YouTube or Vimeo. Seven contestants in each category will be selected by a panel of top secret Coney Island talent scouts and be asked to compete in the live event on July 31.
Contact: coneyislandtalent@gmail.com, 917-770-8559

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The Miss Coney Island Burlesque Beauty Pageant, Coney Island USA/Burlesque at the Beach, Friday, September 17, 10-11 pm

Miss Coney Island 2007 Ekaterina & Bambi. Photo © Norman Blake via coneyislandusa's flickr

Miss Coney Island 2007 Ekaterina & Bambi. Photo © Norman Blake via coneyislandusa's flickr

Gigi LaFemme is the reigning Miss Coney Island. Her predecessors have included Gal Friday, Serpentina, Ekaterina and Bambi. The Great Fredini, who runs Burlesque at the Beach, responded to our request for info on this year’s pageant: “Bambi carefully curates the Miss Coney Island Pageant herself. We usually have 8-12 competitors and I MC the show with a band. It’s run in a classic beauty pageant format with segments for runway, talent, lineup, etc. As far as this year… I can confirm that Angie Pontani will be competing, so the competition is going to be steep! The thing is you just never know who will take it because the audience in the theater votes to decide who the new Miss Coney Island will be. So it’s really about who the audience loves the most. It’s very Coney Island!” Contact: www.coneyisland.com

Related posts on ATZ…

July 10, 2011: Photo Album: Vidbel Old Tyme Circus Opens in Coney Island

June 23, 2011: Casting Call for Second Annual Coney Island Talent Show

March 10, 2010: Coney Island Sideshow to Add Girlie Freak Show, Run 7 Days a Week

June 22, 2009: A Judge’s Photo Album of the 2009 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

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Zoltar Speaks, First Prize for Motorized Float in the 2009 Mermaid Parade. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Zoltar Speaks, First Prize for Motorized Float in the 2009 Mermaid Parade. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

From the reviewing stand at the Mermaid Parade, I snapped this photo of an amazing one-man float inspired by the fortune telling machine in the movie Big. After reading the post-parade discussion on the Coney Island message board, I realized that “Zoltar Speaks” was the same guy who created the popular “Pirate on the Segway” for the 2008 parade.

Last June, Jonathan Gleich won third place for motorized float (with no bribe because “I was new and didn’t know the rules LOL,” he says). He got hooked. A few weeks after last year’s parade, Jonathan started working on a Segway powered float for the 2009 event. Advance planning, hard work and an exquisite bribe–two bottles of Crystal Head vodka packed in shredded cash– paid off. Zoltar won first place in the Mermaid Parade’s motorized float category. Congrats to Jonathan and his alter egos for winning two years in a row!

After discovering Jonathan’s fabulous Zoltar Speaks website and flickr set documenting the project, which included an elaborate “dress rehearsal” in Coney Island a few weeks before the parade, we asked Jonathan/Zoltar to do a Q & A. How could we resist? The website drew us in: “Welcome Traveler, Zoltar Knows Why You Are Here. You Seek More Information…”

Zoltar says:  This is my publicity picture. Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Zoltar says: "This is my 'publicity' picture. Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Q: How did you get the idea to do a Zoltar float for the Mermaid Parade?

A: I am a Segway enthusiast and use my Segway to commute to my office in midtown Manhattan most nice days and have made friends with other Segway people across the country. One of those people is Chris Johnson in Ashland, Oregon. He is the one who came up with the idea of putting a Zoltar on a Segway (I have a picture of him on my website in the thank you section). He knew about my pirate Segway and was teasing me how I would top it, and I said “Hey I’m gonna steal YOUR idea. A fortune teller is PERFECT for Coney island” and as they say, That’s how it Started!

Zoltar in front of Stillwell Station on Mermaid Parade Day in Coney Island. Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Zoltar in front of Stillwell Station on Mermaid Parade Day in Coney Island. Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Q: How long have you been working on it? I seem to remember you saying (on the CIUSA board) that you started as soon as the 2008 parade was over!

A: They say idle hands are the devil’s work, so I must be an angel! I started on Zoltar just about a month after the Mermaid Parade. I had such a great time at the parade, and had such good response to my Pirate costume, that I was really enthused.

Here is a ‘log’ of progress. Chris recommended I track both the cost and the time…

History:
7/20/08 – Ordered base Plates
7/23/08 – Plates done – First Rev added Posts
7/23/08 – Started tracking expenses
1/17/09 – Wiring done – disassembled waiting on material
1/25/09 – Front of Zoltar completed
2/8/09 – Zoltar work continues
3/15/09 – 98% complete last 12 things left to do
4/12/09 – First outside test with Phil, windy, minor problems
5/2/09 – Fixed most of the problems found on the outside test
5/15/09 – Completed all exterior work on Zoltar (moldings / etc)
6/1/09 – down to the last 6 items, test 2 today.
6/7/09 – Boardwalk test – dress rehearsal

And before you ask… I spent $4000 total on Zoltar (from soup to nuts)

Zoltar: This is a Before and After shot, of the pieces that make up Zoltar.  Photo ©  Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

"Zoltar: This is a Before and After Shot of the Pieces that Make Up Zoltar." Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Q: What is the history of the Zoltar machine? Where was it located in Coney Island?

Zoltar is a Fortune telling machine from the movie “BIG” – it actually is based on a ‘Zoltan’ machine, a 1940’s mechanical fortune telling machine. A company in Nevada produces a Zoltar machine now and they’re all over the country. I grew up in Brighton Beach and spent many many, many days in Coney Island at Faber’s and at the Skee Ball place on Mermaid Ave (long gone) right next to the carousal (long gone). Coney Island has always been arcade and carnivals and scary rides (and sometimes scary people).

An original Zoltar machine. Photo by jonathan_gleich @ flickr

An original Zoltar machine. Photo by jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Q: What is your background? Are you an artist or woodworker? It looks like an incredible piece of craftsmanship.

A: THANK YOU! – I am a computer geek by trade (I am the IT director for a children’s clothing manufacturer). But the fact is i have little experience or knowledge in making and designing and woodworking. Electronics and tech is my real talent. BUT I love a challenge and that’s what Zoltar was to me. Give me 1000 problems, and let me solve them! – That is why it took so long and so much money. Chris built his in 2 days with the help of a Hollywood prop guy. He sent me pictures and dimensions of his Zoltar and that gave me the foundation to work from.

Zoltars Trial Run on the Boardwalk a few weeks before the Mermaid Parade. Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Zoltar's Trial Run on the Boardwalk a few weeks before the Mermaid Parade. Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Q: I notice in the photos that you did a trial run in Coney on June 7th. How did it go?

A: The dress rehearsal went great, but nothing like taking your show before a live audience. I discovered problems–say design flaws— that I never even thought about. It also was a great opportunity to see what I look like. You always have a image in your mind. But the camera sees a whole different image!

Q: Did you tell fortunes? Any anecdotes from that day?

A: I consider myself to be a funny person with a quick wit, and looked forward to the challenge of being asked to tell a fortune, or to flirt using Zoltar as my ploy – my best retort was a kid ran up to me and yelled “I WANNA BE BIG” – I replied (in my Zoltar booming voice) YOUR WISH IS GRANTED. His mother looked at me, and I said in a slightly lower voice “BUT IT WILL TAKE 15 YEARS FOR YOUR WISH TO BE GRANTED.” Everyone laughed.

Zoltar at Nathans on Mermaid Parade Day. Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Zoltar at Nathan's on Mermaid Parade Day. Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

The weirdest reaction was that people wanted their fortunes told, seriously wanted them. I said “I’m not friggin miss cleo” that really shocked me, that some people took my get up seriously!

The other thing was the nastiness of some people, a woman tried to knock me over. She thought I was standing and pushing it on a dolly and it would be a laugh. The Segway compensated for the sudden lurch, but I and others could have been been hurt badly and that never came into her consideration. I added a “spotter” with me for the parade.

Q; What are your plans for Zoltar now that the parade is over?

A: I try and use the costumes for two parades— The Mermaid Parade and the Village Halloween Parade. Zoltar has lights and electronics that weren’t even seen during the day, so the Zoltar at night is a whole different experience.

Zoltar at Night on Coney Islands Boardwalk. Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Zoltar at Night on Coney Island's Boardwalk. Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Q: Where do you store it?

A: I live in a house and have a basement full of old projects. But I think that Zoltar will end up in my living room with a mannequin wearing my costume and being my own personal fortune teller

Q: Are you available for appearances?

A; I have been already approached by a professional photographer to do a studio session with Zoltar. A zoo in Staten Island has a haunted week during Halloween and asked me to be there. So what’s next for Zoltar? Who knows? Maybe Jimmy Kimmel? Maybe America’s Most Wanted!

Zoltar on Mermaid Parade Day in Coney Island. Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Zoltar on Mermaid Parade Day in Coney Island. Photo © Phil Yee via jonathan_gleich @ flickr

Visit the “Zoltar Speaks” website to view videos of Zoltar at the Mermaid Parade and info on hiring him for special events

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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

June 22, 2009: A Judge’s Photo Album of the 2009 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

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

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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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Mermaid Kate Dale on Purple Sofa Float in 2008 Mermaid Parade. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Mermaid Kate Dale on Purple Sofa Float in 2008 Mermaid Parade. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

When I spotted this fabulous purple sofa in the staging area minus its mermaid at last year’s parade, I just knew it belonged to Kate Dale. I’m pretty sure Kate has won Best Mermaid more than any other mermaid in the parade’s history. She once won for her elaborate Girl on A Swing float inspired by a painting by Fragonard. Kate graciously took a few minutes from ongoing preparations for tomorrow’s parade for a quick Q & A. ATZ can’t wait to see what Kate and her crew have created for 2009! Oh, and best of luck to all of you last minute mermaids…

Q: Are you still head of the costume department at Juilliard?

A: I am the Prop Shop Supervisor at Juilliard, I’ve done so since 1990.

Q: Is it true that you won Best Mermaid more than any other mermaid in the parade’s history?

A: I have won Best Mermaid 3 times. I do not know if some one else has won more. There are a few good ones who’ve been in the game as long as I have. I have also won best float twice.

Q: What were some of your costumes and floats in the parade?

A: Sea turtle, hot air balloon with Gibson girl mermaid, giant silver coin, space mermaid, origami mermaid

Q: Which ones won Best Mermaid?

A: I won Best Mermaid first in 96 in a walking costume with a bustle style tail, 2000 in a Fragonard inspired swing and 2005 in the hot air balloon. My Best Float Winners were the space mermaid waterspeeder in 02 and the silver anniversary coin in 07. The ones that should have won were the champagne bottle in 02 (in a downpour) and the lobster car in 97, but I’m not bitter.

Q: How many hours or days do you and your friends typically spend in preparation?

A: Lots, though we’re dialing it back these days. It’s down to a 2 week build.

Q: Do you have any tips for last minute mermaids?

A: Get away from the computer and back to work!!!!!

2009 Mermaid Parade is Saturday, June 20th, 2PM! Rain or Shine!

UPDATE: If you’re curious to see Kate’s float in the 2009 parade, here’s my photo on flickr. This lovely “push pull float” was pulled by a team of clowns. Congrats to Kate and her crew!

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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 22, 2009: A Judge’s Photo Album of the 2009 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

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