The Mermaid Parade FAQ
What day is the Parade?
Saturday, June 20, 2020, rain or shine.
Who is this year's King and Queen?
What time does the Parade start?
The Mermaid Parade starts at 1pm!
What time does the Parade end and what's this about a Beach Ceremony?
Hard to say, but it usually wraps up at around 4pm or so. Immediately after the last participant passes the review stand at West 19th and Surf Avenue, parade founder Dick D. Zigun leads the King and Queen procession from the review stand at 19th and Surf Avenue, through MCU Parking lot to the beach for the official Beach Ceremony and opening of the ocean for the summer swimming season. Join us!
Where does the Parade take place?
The Parade will start on West 21st and Surf Avenue. It will roll East to West 10th Street, the marchers and push pull floats will go to the Boardwalk and march to Steeplechase Plaza, where the Parade will disband.
Who puts on the Parade?
We do! Coney Island USA the resident not for profit arts center in Coney Island. We are headquartered at 1208 Surf Ave between West 12th street and Stillwell Ave. Our Presenting Sponsor is the Coney Island Brewery You can help support the parade by supporting all of our programs throughout the year, buying merchandise at our gift shop, having a beer, soda or bottled water at the Freak Bar! And another great way to show your appreciation is to become a member of Coney Island USA! Memberships start at only $35.
Where’s the best place to watch the Parade?
That’s entirely up to you. Many people like to watch the Parade on the boardwalk, but the boardwalk only features marchers and push-pull floats. Surf Avenue allows viewing of antique cars and motorized floats as well. If you choose to watch the parade on Surf Avenue (for the full experience) please understand that crowds are getting as thick as those in Times Square on New Year's Eve and similarly you might find yourself locked into a pen behind steel NYPD barricades unable to leave, breathe or go to the bathroom for a few hours. If you think that you may not want to stay for the entire parade, we recommend that you stand on the North side of Surf (non-beach side), as getting to the subway or crossing Surf can be difficult, due to crowds. If you want to experience the Parade in seated comfort, purchase a judgeship at the Mermaid Parade Judge Level from our Membership Page.
Is it ok to bring kids to the Parade?
The Mermaid Parade is an art parade and is for everyone, just keep in mind that some folks will be dressed as Mermaids and Mermen who, let's face it, aren't historically known for wearing much clothing. That being said, we've always had a ton of kids in the Parade, (even a little girl's Birthday party or two!) but it's entirely up to you as a parent or guardian to decide what you feel is appropriate for your kids.
I want to be in the Parade! How can I register?
We strongly encourage registering online! You will save $ and time by doing so. Registration coming soon. Day of registration is cash only at begins 10am and wraps at 1pm at the parking lot on Surf Ave. between 21st. and 22nd street.
Check In/Registration - Check in/Registration for floats, antique cars, and marchers is in the parking lot on Surf Avenue between 21st & 22nd streets from 10am-1pm.
The line up for Floats and Antique Cars:
Floats line up on Surf Avenue between 24th street & 22nd street, Antique Cars line up on Surf Avenue between 21st & 22nd streets
Because West 21st Street is much narrower than our old staging area (West 10th Street), you will NOT be able to PULL YOUR TRUCK OR VEHICLE to unload materials for assembling your push-pull cart or costume. But, DON’T WORRY- you will be able to assemble your cart in a secure location with vehicle access on Surf Avenue between West 21st and West 22nd Street. You may then push your cart on to West 21st Street.
What time do I have to get there, day of?
This is entirely up to you. Registration opens at 10am and the Parade rolls out at 1pm. You can come as close to 1pm as you’d like, but be aware that traffic on the Belt Parkway can come to a standstill and that the registration line grows longer, as well as street crowds get bigger, the closer it is to 1pm. Don’t get crushed by the rush! Between 10am and 11am, is generally a good time to arrive and highly advised.
I want to sit in a bleacher seat and be a judge at the Parade. How do I do that?
So you want to be a judge at the 2020 Mermaid Parade with V.I.P Seating and a coveted Mermaid Parade Judge T- Shirt? It's simple, become a Member of Coney Island USA at the "Mermaid Parade Judge" Level.
Where is the Judges Reviewing Stand?
It is on Surf Ave and W 19th Street across from MCU Park.
How do I get to Coney Island?
The best way to get to Coney Island is to take the D, F, N or Q subway to Stillwell Avenue. The Coney Island amusement area is also accessible via Exits 6 and 7 on the Belt Parkway (though we highly recommend taking the subway).
I'm from out of town, are there any hotels/motels in Coney Island?
Sleep Inn Coney Island is the closest hotel to the Parade, or you can find lodging in Brooklyn or Manhattan, that is accessible to the D, N, F or Q trains (which will take you to Stillwell Ave./Coney Island stop). Trip Advisor is a good lodging review site.
I’m coming by car. Where’s the best place to park?
Are you nuts? The Mermaid Parade is Coney Island’s busiest day of the year and the traffic is terrible. Also, surrounding streets are subject to closure at any time. Having said that, the New York Aquarium and MCU Park both have parking lots, and there are a number of private lots between Surf and Neptune Avenues and West 8th Streets and West 17th Streets. Coney Island USA strongly encourages people to make use of the mass transit system.
I’m coming from Manhattan. How much is a taxi or ride share from Midtown?
More than $40. You’re better off taking the subway.
I’m coming in from out of town and need an address for GPS directions. What should I use?
For Coney Island in general, you can use 1208 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224, for the Registration area you can use the intersection of West 21st Street and Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224.
Who announces the Mermaid Parade?
Since 1989 our MC and “Voice of the Mermaid Parade” is Chris T. Co-MC is Joey X.
Are there winners in each category and where is this announced?
Yes, our esteemed judges determine who the winners are in each category. Winners will be announced at a ceremony at Sideshows by the Seashore, at a date to be announced.
Is there an official party? Where is it?
Yes, Location TBA.
What's this about bribing the judges review stand on W. 19th Street?
Our Judges are paradigms of fine jurisprudence, and as such actively discourage all bribes. Having said that, in year's past there have been isolated incidences of bribery. And coincidentally it seems many of those proffering the best bribes seems to often go home with the top awards. And it is also a coincidence that many of those awards appear to be a bit greasy -- this clearly being a function of the culinary delights of Coney rather than some kind of metaphorical greasy palm. And while our Judges certainly prefer a handmade objet d'art, they never turn their nose at a delicious baked good or a fine bottle of whiskey. And we're only supplying this info as a "fun fact" -- it is in no way a solicitation. And observers have noted that while the judges stand is often well equipped with bottles, it seems to often be short of cups and ice. Again just another factoid to share. Finally, the many young people on the reviewing stand certainly enjoy candy, toys, noisemakers and other joyous items.
I'm building a float that's a 1:1 model of the Parachute Jump. Will I have clearance to march it on the street?
According to many-time Queen Mermaid Kate Dale, dimensions for floats should follow these rules of thumb:
The narrower of the ramps is 8' wide to the inside of the rail, but no more than 6' of width is recommended and 5'6" would be preferable.
The hard cut off is approx 9'6" or so. A wire across 10th Street Ramp is 10' off ground, but with slope, clearance is less than that.
The steeper of the ramps is approximately 5" to 1' incline, so people should prepare for that in terms of weight and tippage.
Conditions change, so it's always best to walk the route with a tape measure yourself.
Antique cars and motorized floats. What's the rules and route?
Antique Cars will drive down Surf Ave. past 10th Street and then depart along Surf Ave.
Motorized Floats will roll down Surf Ave., past West 10th Street.
As with last year, the following restrictions are in place:
1) all cars must show proof of insurance
2) No one may burn rubber or spin tires. This comes directly from the Police. Please do not burn rubber or spin tires, or you will be taken out of line and issued a summons. That's a bad way to end a good day.
3) No one is permitted to ride on the hood of a vehicle or in a trunk. Sorry. Again, straight from the police.
4) No one is permitted to drink alcohol in a motorized float.
The Mermaid Parade has no size restrictions for float, they just need to be “street legal" no size restrictions for floats. Please note the NYPD Highway unit inspects all vehicles before the parade (license, registration, insurance, etc).
The normal restrictions for vehicles in NYC are 35' length restriction for a single body vehicle (buses can go to 45'); 53' for tractor trailers (or pulled flatbeds), 8.5 feet width limit; 13.5 feet height restriction (this may apply to the boat). Anything over that would need an "over dimensional permit" from NYC DOT (info available here).
The Mermaid Parade does not allow Motorcycles on the parade route.
Riding on top of buses WITHOUT guard rails is prohibited. Buses with handrails cannot have more than 5 participants on roof, without prior permission.
Horses, or other animals, are only allowed in the parade with special permission from Parade Management.
I want to bring my dog/cat/other pet to the Parade. Is that ok?
Coney Island USA does not have a policy regarding animals in the Parade. However, asphalt does get hot, which can be ouchy on the pads of little canine/feline feet. Please keep that in mind if you are thinking about bringing your furry friends. Please also remember that dogs aren’t allowed on the beach. Don't ask us why...we don't make those rules.
I'm not a part of a group, marching band etc., just an individual who wants to march in the parade, is there a place for me?
Of course! You don't need to be a member of a group to be in the parade, just register yourself in the appropriate category.
How do I volunteer for the parade?
Send an email to email@example.com and someone will get back to you.
I’m going to miss the Parade!
It’s ok…you can buy merchandise in our online gift shop.
I want to buy a Mermaid Parade T-shirt day of. How do I do that?
Official T-shirts will be available from Coney Island USA roving vendors along Surf Avenue and at our gift shop at 1208 Surf Avenue (corner of West 12th St.)!
Don’t buy bootleg merchandise or shirts that say Mermaid Day, Mermaid Parade Day or an other variable! This only lines the pockets of individuals who are exploiting the Parade for their personal gain. The Parade is an expensive one to put on and we'd appreciate it if you would buy our official merchandise. Our T - Shirts say The Mermaid Parade with a small TM (Trademark logo).
What’s the deal with taking pictures of the Parade. How can I arrange that?
Anyone can take pictures of the parade from the sidewalk as it goes by on the street. If you want to take pictures of the staging area from 10:30am - 12:30pm (pre-parade where participants gather), on West 21st Street and Surf Avenue, you will be charged $40 in advance ($50, cash only, day of) to enter the staging area. The staging area pass, is just that, for the staging area only. It does not give you permission to be in the street taking pictures during the Parade. If you are in the street, security will remove you. If you are Working Press with an NYPD issued Press Pass, you can enter the staging area for free and of course take pictures on the street.
Can I get a Press Pass that gives me special access to cover the Parade?
No, we do not issue special press passes. The NYPD handles press credentials for members of the media. Click here for info.
Is there a hashtag for Social Media?
Yes, #mermaidparade2020 #mermaidparade
I'm going to stand in the street in front of the reviewing stand and take pictures or video because I'm very important and I don't care what anyone says. I might also stand in the middle of the route and take pictures or video and hold up the Parade. What do you think about that?
If you obstruct the Parade, security will bodily remove you. We're running a parade and don't have time to think about your portfolio, your hobby, your video project or how expensive your camera is.
I have a lot of photos of the Mermaid Parade and am thinking of doing a book about the Parade. Who do I talk to about that?
You would need to talk to us, Coney Island USA. The Mermaid Parade is a property of Coney Island USA, and use of the name is forbidden without expressed, written consent of Coney Island USA.
Furthermore, we are required by law to protect the trademark. We know that people love the parade, and we appreciate it, but showing love for the parade by trying to make a buck on it is bad karma and will cost everyone a lot more in legal bills than they will want to pay.
I sell products that your patrons might like. How do I find out about doing that at the Parade?
I have questions about the parade that aren't answered here, who do I contact?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
* The Parade will start at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue
* The Parade will roll east to West 10th Street
* At West 10th Street the Parade will turn south towards the boardwalk
* At the Boardwalk, the marchers and push-pull floats will turn west and head towards West 17th Street.
* At Steeplechase Plaza, the Parade will disband.
About The Mermaid Parade
The Mermaid Parade is the largest art parade in the nation. A celebration of ancient mythology and honky-tonk rituals of the seaside, it showcases over 1,500 creative individuals from all over the five boroughs, opening the summer with incredible art, entrepreneurial spirit and community pride. The parade highlights Coney Island Pageantry based on a century of many Coney parades, celebrates the artistic vision of the masses, and ensures that the summer season is a success by bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the amusement area in a single day.
The MERMAID PARADE specifically was founded in 1983 with 3 goals: it brings mythology to life for local residents who live on streets named Mermaid and Neptune ; it creates self-esteem in a district that is often disregarded as “entertainment”; and it lets artistic New Yorkers find self-expression in public.
Unlike most parades, this one has no ethnic, religious, or commercial aims. It’s a major New York holiday invented by artists! An American version of the summer-solstice celebration, it takes pride of place with West African Water Festivals and Ancient Greek and Roman street theater. It's features participants dressed in hand-made costumes based on themes and categories set by us. This creates an artistic framework on which artists can improvise, resulting in the flourishing of frivolity, dedication, pride, and personal vision that has become how New York celebrates summer.