2015 Mermaid Parade

2015 Mermaid Parade - Photo by Paul Ferris

My wig didn’t fit in the cab.

That’s the beginning of how my time at the 2015 Mermaid Parade began as I rushed towards Surf Avenue and West 21st street in Coney Island for what would be my fifth parade, and my first experience on the judges’ stand, thanks to some encouragement from friends who insisted it was the best way to experience it. I think they might have been talking about the “unsolicited” bribes from the marchers, as my haul included several beers, more than a few swigs at some high-end whiskey, and lots of creative home-made trinkets from the marchers. And of course, the chance to see the wildly creative nautically themed ensembles, floats, and antique cars from the best seat in the house. Finally getting to see the parade in its entirety from the beginning, one of my favorite memories from this year was our esteemed Chief Justice telling one of the antique cars, a convertible, “This is a topless parade, take your top down!” To which the car happily obliged.

But the Mermaid Parade is so much more than a topless parade, although it certainly is that, as New York law allows persons of either gender to be topless in public unless towns enact local ordinances to the contrary—which, happily for the burlesque community, New York City has not.

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