The World's Best Costume Parties

by Sarah Gold

Mermaid Parade, Coney Island, New York

What it is: A loopy, sea-themed fiesta recalling the Coney Island Mardi Gras of the '30s, '40s and '50s. As the Atlantic is just getting warm, it also symbolizes the "opening of the sea" to swimmers.

Party time: The third Saturday in June. In 2007 the parade—a 25th anniversary celebration—is on June 23.

The getup: Dress as something from oceanic legend (or from the nearby aquarium). Hundreds show up as mer-folk in sequined tails, green wigs, and seashell bras—but if you don a giant rubber dome and trail around a set of fake tentacles, carry a streamer-festooned umbrella and make like a jellyfish, or waddle inside a papier-mâché boat, you'll be right at home.

Where it's at: The Coney Island boardwalk at the southern edge of Brooklyn, where nostalgic kitsch still reigns supreme. Here, you can watch sideshow performers, gorge yourself on chili dogs, and ponder whether a roller coaster ride on the fabled, rickety wooden Cyclone could possibly be a good idea.

What goes down: Paraders converge near the base of the Cyclone, then march/shimmy/faux-sidestroke along a stretch of the boardwalk and nearby Surf Avenue. A Queen Mermaid and King Neptune are crowned, then everyone wanders the boardwalk and beach until the Mermaid Parade Ball a couple hours later. Many ride home drunk on the F train.

Mermaid Parade
Tel: 718 372 5159

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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