Dear mesmerizing mermaladies & sea-males,
This past Saturday was the 30th anniversary of the Mermaid Parade in the now-transformed Coney Island. (Which looks great, by the way. The new Luna Park is pretty top-notch, especially after all the baleful warnings that the park's demise was certain in the faee of condo development.) Ruby's Bar & Grill, which has also been battling eviction for the past few years, got a facelift (new interior/paintjob/bathrooms but most of the old charm and historic photos intact) and it seems unlikely that they will be forced out for at least a few years.
Only complaint is this year there were too many police barricades in awkward positions, like around the Cyclone (which I believe is a UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site now), making it a nightmare to get around. And thanks to the parade being a trending topic on Twitter (among other internet bullhorns), the crowd seemed to be three times larger than usual this year.
And while it was too claustrophobic to watch the spectacle on the boardwalk (thanks again to too many barricades) we found our way to where gaggles of parade participants were spilling out into a parking lot--an ideal locale for photo-snapping.
I loved this woman because she reminded me of a more svelte version of Edith Massey as Queen Carlotta in John Waters' "Desperate Living."
One of the Queen's foot soldiers
After a few beers at Ruby's, one of my friends thought this pirate sail read, "THE TALIBAN." Well, I'm sober right now and I still don't know what the hell it says.
This mermaid is made entirely of little cupcakes! (Calm down, curmudgeons--they're not from Magnolia....this float is the creation of some cupcake bakery from Washington, D.C. I thought it was cool that they came all the way to New York to be in the parade.)
A new addition to Luna Park: some kind of bungee jump that requires two crazy people per ride.
A bejeweled schlong! Some Radical Faerie/Cockettes realness in Coney...
This woman introduced her daughter as "a character from fiction who died of consumption." Charmed, I'm sure.
Ruby's has a new sign!
And--wow!!--a "reclaimed lumber" ceiling. Recognize it? It's the old Coney Island boardwalk!
One of the old Ruby's signs, preserved with care inside the bar.
We loved this woman's corset.
My friend Suzanne Batmanghelichi and I. It was Suzanne's first Mermaid Parade!
Also, Suzanne's first foray into the world of raw clams. I ate so many that day.
Nancy Stout, Corey Sabourin and Suzanne
Vintage photo, probably from the early 20th century, of the elephant rides they used to do in Coney. (They also had camel rides. You can see a glimpse of that in the film clip from 1905 I posted in my 2010 report--link below.)
The 1979 cult film "The Warriors" is having a bit of a resurgence lately. There were a few Ruby's patrons sporting these vests and also Warriors t-shirts.
"The Warriors are from Coney Island. Now, they're in the Bronx--27 miles behind enemy lines!"