Those Crazy Coney Island Dayze: The Sexy Mermaid Parade Celebration

Those Crazy Coney Island Dayze: The Sexy Mermaid Parade Celebration

Today, Coney Island again burst forth with New Yorkers in outrageous mermaid and King Neptune costumes, a display of topless women in pasties and colorfully clad drag queens making their way down the boardwalk among a swarm of arts-and-crafts floats. The beautiful zaniness is all part of the annual Mermaid Parade, which for 30 years has celebrated the first weekend of summer.

This year, however, the parade faced its demise after its sponsor, Coney Island USA, had its headquarters damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Combined with rising insurance premiums, the costs of crowd control and Porta-Potties for several hundred thousand people, the parade needed an infusion of an additional $100,000, or it wouldn’t have lived to see its 31st edition.

The Mermaid Parade is an annual event that first took place at Coney Island in 1983 and has been a very popular attraction ever since. The Mermaid Parade draws a huge crowd of celebrators, who don wild and outrageous costumes, with the parade’s naughty marchers wearing sea-themed outfits that often leave little to the imagination.

This year, clad in costumes that combined seashells and glitter, scores of exuberant revelers gyrated through Coney Island on Saturday. An estimated half-million people lined the sunny streets to watch ogle Brooklyn’s version of Mardi Gras. The flamboyant marchers, many of whom wore their costumes on the subway out to Coney Island, much to the amusement of their fellow riders, walked on the boardwalk alongside colorful floats and danced to several live bands blaring out top 40 hits and old-time standards.

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

The 2011 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Slide Show: The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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The Joy of Brooklyn’s Sparkly Bedazzled Mosaic House

The Joy of Brooklyn’s Sparkly Bedazzled Mosaic House

Mosaic House is a wonderful documentary short film, a portrait of mosaic artist Susan Gardner, 70, a third-generation New Yorker. The documentary is part of a series called New Yorkers, created by Moonshot Productions.

Wyckoff Street between Smith and Hoyt in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill is a long, tree-lined block of brick homes in varying shades of brown. But amidst the beige and burnt sienna, like a shot of confetti nestled among a line of brown crayolas, sits number 108. Instead of brick, there are beads. And broken mirrors and shells. And a starburst of buttons, and jewels, and marbles, and a menagerie of tiny plastic animals. Bits of coral are encrusted in the walls, and the curlycued bars on the windows are wrapped in beads. Tens of thousands of colorful pieces creep downward onto the patio, and also move upward to the second floor like vines with lives of their own.

This is the project of Susan Gardner, who has spent each summer for the past ten years crouching on her patio or scaling a ladder, adding to this expanding mosaic. The mosaic project began just before September 11, when her anger over the neighborhood’s growing slickness and homogeneity was hitting a tipping point. A small flower was her first design. Then, two planes crashed into Manhattan’s twin towers, and she couldn’t stand to stay alone inside. She grabbed some tiles and beads and started working furiously. “It was one of those things that seemed to change the tilt of the world,” she says. “Once I started, I couldn’t stop. The idea is that everything in the world does suck,” she states. “But there’s got to be some joy in there somewhere.

The Joy of Brooklyn’s Sparkly Bedazzled Mosaic House

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