I jump on the F train and take it to the edge of Brooklyn– passed Avenue X, passed Neptune Avenue– all the way to Coney Island and Stillwell Avenue where salt water seeps into and intoxicates my pores. 23rd street and Surf Avenue is a barren block with only two four story high tenements, a garage, and gated off areas of visceral and forgotten earth stretching between everything and leading to the boardwalk. The mermaids and the captains, the pirates, the seamen, the dancers, the prancers, the drinkers, the artists, the nudes, the locals and the foreigners all descend upon Coney Island for The Mermaid Parade, a day long celebration of the summer. On 23rd and Surf, they prepare themselves. They paint their bodies, they make their costumes, they drink, they dance and look at each other, they mingle and get ready, smoke, kiss, laugh. The parade pre party builds up and crescendos with marching bands and carnival barkers until the roar of the parade falls forward into motion and begins. I follow. Camera in hand.
Coney Island Mermaid Parade, 2016
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