Coney Island Mermaid Parade Questions & Answers

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Image of costomed marchers in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. A man and woman wear what appear to be court jester outfits. Both have humorous expressions on their faces.

What?! You didn’t make it to the last Coney Island Mermaid Parade? Don’t worry, the next one will be here in two shakes of a dolphin’s tail. The Mermaid Parade grows every year and is now one of New York City’s most popular summer events.

What is the Coney Island Mermaid Parade?

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is a parade in honor of summer’s arrival. It’s also a living art exhibition, a party, a pageant, a circus and a tongue-in-cheek celebration of popular culture. Think Mardi Gras, Brazil’s Carnaval and Key West’s Fantasy Fest all rolled into one afternoon.

Participants create their own costumes, with /- 90% of them having a nautical theme. Many spectators also dress up.

When is the Coney Island Mermaid Parade?

Usually on the Saturday closest to June 21st, which is the first day of summer and the date of the summer solstice. Runs from 1 p.m. till 4:30 or so.

How much does it cost to attend the Mermaid Parade?

It’s free to watch. Parade participants pay to register. You can participate by marching, driving an antique car or designing/driving a float.

Image of a crowded Surf Ave. in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York during the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

New York City nice weather crazy party 1st day of summer= CROWDED. A view of Surf Ave. shortly before the Mermaid Parade begins. The parade travels down Surf Ave. before turning onto the boardwalk.

How do I get to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade?

Subway

From Manhattan, it will take 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Take the D, Q, N or F lines to the Stillwell Ave./Coney Island stop.

Express Bus

Two express buses from Manhattan to Coney Island: the x28 and x38.

Get off at the Mermaid Ave. stop (at 17th St.) in Coney Island.

For express bus schedules and stops, the easiest thing to do is to:

Regular City Buses From Brooklyn

From Brooklyn, you can take these city buses to Coney Island: B36, B64, B68, B74 and B82.

They will say “Coney Island” on the front.

Drivers

Use this address: 1904 Surf Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 11224. This is the address of MCU Park, where the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team plays.

There is a parking lot across the street from MCU Park.

Image is of two women dressed as mermaids on a parade float at the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade. The mermaid in the foreground is dressed in red. Both mermaids wave to the crowd.

Mermaids are just some of the sea creatures, real and mythical, you’ll see at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

Where Can I View The Coney Island Mermaid Parade?

You can view the parade from two points:

  1. Along Surf Ave.
  2. Along the Coney Island Boardwalk

If standing on the side of Surf Ave. closest to the beach, police barricades may delay/prevent your leaving.

Recommendations/Notes For Coney Island Mermaid Parade:

  • Crowds are bigger on Surf Ave.
  • Whether on Surf Ave. or the boardwalk, come early and hang out if you want a prime spot– especially along Surf Ave.
  • If you come early, you may want to bring a folding chair.
  • One big advantage of watching along Surf Ave. is seeing the antique cars and the larger, motorized parade floats.
  • There is little shade anywhere, so come prepared: sun block, hats, visors, shades, umbrellas, etc.
  • Expect long food and bathroom lines and prepare accordingly. Lines look worse than they actually are. At Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, for example, the lines looked like it would take an hour to order. Ordered and had food within about 20 minutes. Bathroom lines looked worse, but took about 15 minutes.
  • Bring beachwear. Parade is over by mid-afternoon. Relax on Coney Island Beach afterwards.
  • Be aware that some women participate topless in the parade.

Resources:

See the Coney Island Mermaid Parade’s official page for additional info, including how to register as a participant or as parade volunteer.

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