Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The funky, only-in-Brooklyn Mermaid Parade in Coney Island will have a new King and Queen this year.
Coney Island USA has announced that Dante and Chiara de Blasio have been appointed as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid in the 32nd Annual Mermaid Parade on Saturday, June 21.
According to tradition, King Neptune and Queen Mermaid will be wheeled in the parade in an antique wicker Boardwalk Rolling Chair that dates back to 1923.
As King Neptune and Queen Mermaid, Dante and Chiara de Blasio will hold the highest position of honor in the parade, which organizers call a “unique and artistic celebration of ancient mythology and the honky-tonk seaside ritual” that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the fabled neighborhood.
The Mermaid Parade features marching bands, drill teams, floats, antique cars and some 1,500 participants dressed in hand-made costume of mermaids, sea creatures, amusement rides and Neptunes.
It is the largest art parade in the nation and the largest event of the year in Coney Island.
“We are extraordinarily honored to have the participation of New York City’s first family in the parade,” said Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun, who is known as the Mayor of Coney Island. “King Neptune and Queen Mermaid represent the young adults of New York City who are the next generation of visitors to Coney Island and Coney Island USA.”
Previous King Neptunes and Queen Mermaids have included Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Queen Latifah, Judah Friedlander, Carole Radziwill, Harvey Keitel and Dapne Keitel.
The Mermaid Parade was founded in 1983 by Coney Island USA, the not-for-profit arts organization that also produces the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. The Mermaid Parade pays homage to Coney Island's forgotten Mardi Gras, which lasted from 1903 to 1954, and draws from a host of other sources resulting in a wonderful and wacky event that is unique to Coney Island.
The parade was established to achieve three goals: bring mythology to life for local residents who live on streets named Mermaid and Neptune; create self-esteem in a district that is often disregarded; and let artistic New Yorkers find self-expression in public.
©2014 Everything Brooklyn Media/ Brooklyn Eagle