Lou Reed will float down Coney Island's dirty boulevard tomorrow as King Neptune, leader of the Mermaid Parade. Surf Avenue and the boardwalk never lack for colorful people watching. But the can't-miss Mermaid Parade kicks the scene into amphetamine overdrive.
In "Coney Island Baby" Reed sang:
"Ahhh, but remember that the city is a funny place Something like a circus or a sewer And just remember different people have peculiar tastes"
That's an apt description of the Mermaid Parade, though thankfully it leans more toward circus than sewer. Reed's wife, musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson, will be crowned Queen Mermaid and reign over the wacky, often naked proceedings with her husband.
I don't think anyone should ever need an excuse to get out to Coney for the day, but if I did, Mermaid Parade would be it. It's a zoo, for sure, and will be even more of one this year due to bottlenecking caused by half of the boardwalk being closed off for renovations. But the music, flippery finery, body paint and exposed T & A of many participants will make up for it as always.
Some things to keep in mind:
In the past Mars Bar has celebrated the parade on the eve and day of the big event. Shockingly, Mars Bar does not have a website where I could verify this year's festivities, but check it out if you're in the hood.
The official parade route is confined to Coney Island, but the subway ride out there provides endless entertainment as people dressed to varying degrees of insanity and nakedness (do you detect a theme here?) terrify tourists and fainthearted locals alike. Think fishnet bodysuits, assless chaps and, in one case last year, a synthetic, I hope, pair of blue balls dangling below the knees.
A Nathan's hot dog and cheese fries washed down with a cool beer will never taste better than it does during the Mermaid Parade.