Dear creatures of the deep, clam shuckers, corn dog suckers, and tattoed love gods:
Yesterday was the 25th annual Mermaid Parade in Coney Island and I'm sure everyone is still shaking the sand out of their wigs and scrubbing off the body paint. Thankfully Coney Island hasn't been taken over by greedy realtors and bland yuppies clutching their college degrees yet. Old-school punks, artists, salty and feisty working-class Italian and Hispanic guys and gals, and political activists turned out for what is the largest art parade in the US. I've been going to the Mermaid Parade almost every year since around 1987, back when I was but a mere fetus in a jar being spirited around New York by John Sex.
Amidst the festivities, an air of political awareness and bohemian defiance permeated. Mermaid Obama supporters marched in the parade, while a mermaid activist announced that she was going on a hunger strike which would not end until a decision was reached about the future of Coney Island. From today's Chicago Tribune:
'At the 25th annual Mermaid Parade on Saturday, event organizers will be encouraging people to return to Coney Island on Tuesday to testify against the city's plans to rezone the neighborhood, allowing for retail and high rise hotels in the amusement district.
"The Mermaid Parade is a celebration of the true spirit of Coney Island, so it's perfect timing actually," said Dianna Carlin, owner of the Lola Staar boutique on the boardwalk.
The parade's Queen Mermaid, Savitri D., has vowed to go without food until Tuesday's meeting.
"When we get political, we do it very artistically," said Dick Zigun, founder of the nonprofit arts organization, Coney Island USA, which started the parade in 1983.
The parade is a point of artistic pride for the city's amusement industry and is also a New York mainstay: Nearly 850,000 people turned out for last year's parade, according to the organizers.'
(You can watch Queen Mermaid's hunger strike LIVE here!: http://www.coneyislandusa.com/)
I set off early for Coney Island with my friends Nancy and Christine. Christine brought cupcakes for the long F train ride and we cut them up and shared them will all the car's raucous passengers who were also on their way to the parade. Once in Coney Island, we headed straight for the long bar at Ruby's for an indulgent lunch of draught beer, bloody marys, hot dogs, corn dogs, fried shrimp, fried clams, raw clams on the half shell (super-fresh and delicious), and of course french fries with lots of hot sauce. So much for our solidarity hunger strike.
The Sea Horse That Ate Coney Island! I loved this because it reminded me of the 1953 monster movie, "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" in which a dinosaur crawls out of the ocean, runs rampant through New York, and then meets its demise in the middle of a burning roller coaster in Coney Island (I believe it was the Thunderbolt, which was torn down back in 2000). The film, which featured special effects by Ray Harryhausen, is said to be an inspiration for "Cloverfield."
These dancers were a bittersweet reminder that Madonna was once interesting: They acted out M's brilliant MTV Awards Marie Antoinette-inspired rendition of "Vogue"...I'm too lazy to look up what year that was. 1992?
Because New York rents have become so high, thanks to all the self-entitled, rich, Sex and the City automatons who have flooded into NYC from the flyovers, some of us have resorted to living in trees!
Ruby's rule #54: Do not put an ice cube down the bartender's back. Christine learned this the hard way when the unruly barkeep retaliated by grabbing several fistfulls of ice cubes and shoved them down the front of her blouse. He then proceeded to douse all of us by spraying a bottle of seltzer into the air. But it was all friendly fun.
I ran into my friend Carlota and we proceeded to down numerous Ruby's signature draught beers to build up our courage to ride the Cyclone. Because the bathroom at Ruby's was closed, we had to run over to Nathan's to empty our bladders. Why was the john closed at Ruby's? Oh, just because a few weeks ago, some poor soul fell through the creaky old floor while taking a leak at the urinal and plummeted 10 feet into the basement--which used to be a speakeasy-of-sorts back in the '70s. Because the plumbing exploded during the floor's collapse, the guy was covered head-to-toe in shit when the paramedics and firemen dragged him out of the abyss. Yep, the fun never ends at Ruby's. Wheeee!
Call the police, there's a homo on the beach! After Nancy and Christine left and Carlota and her 20-something friends went to a "Slip 'n' Slide party" (stop the ironic-hipster madness!!), I remained behind, collapsed on the beach. When I finally made it back to the East Village, I was covered with sand, raw clam juice, and fried-food grease.
Thanks for reading.