Mermaids can’t drown!
More than 800,000 visitors flooded Coney Island on June 22 to see the Mermaid Parade triumphantly resurface following its near-death experience in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Hundreds of marine-themed floats, half-naked revelers, and cavorting dance crews rolled down Surf Avenue and along the Boardwalk for the 30th year — all thanks to more than 2,300 donors who raised the $100,000 necessary to resuscitate the event after last year’s super storm.
The costumed cavalcade was left treading water after the October storm surge swamped founder Dick Zigun’s headquarters at the corner of Surf Avenue and W. 12th Street, destroying his famed freak theater and forcing him to sink hundreds of thousands of dollars into repairs. Little was left over to pay for permits, insurance, and security for the swimsuit-clad spectacle. Zigun knew it was sink or swim for his beloved fishy fanfare, and turned to the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter for a lifeline.
“That’s the way the people of Brooklyn, the wackos of New York City, people who care about alternative culture across America, that is how they contribute to things,” Zigun said.
The campaign raised $40,000 in just six days, and reached its goal four days in advance of the June 3 deadline — meaning the wave of debauchery could wash over Surf Avenue once again. Zigun appointed “30 Rock” favorite Judah Friedlander and “Real Housewives of New York” star Carole Radziwill as 2013’s “King Neptune” and “Queen Mermaid” in appreciation for their assistance in keeping the partially clothed procession afloat.
The self-proclaimed “Mayor of Coney Island” was in buoyant spirits after the event, reporting that his the scantily clad pageant went swimmingly — and calling it the largest and least problematic in memory.
“This was the best parade we’ve ever put on in three decades — no accidents, no arrests, just everybody smiling,” Zigun said.Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderma