Today Alex and I woke up and decided to go to Coney Island. The last and only time I had been there was for a Daft Punk concert that still reigns as one of, if not the, very best nights of my life. And I was excited to see Coney Island in daylight and in the comfort of cut-offs and a tank-top, as opposed to the gold, spandex leggings I sported at the concert.
As we approached the train station, we realized that our spur-of-the-moment day trip to Coney Island was going to coincide with the Mermaid Parade – an annual art festival celebrating the beginning of summer.
Every summer since I moved to New York, I’ve been tempted to follow the mermaids and sea creature-clad paraders that I spot on the train down to Coney Island to see them in action.
Today turned out to be that day! Hipster neon replaced by aquamarine and magenta, high-tops and skinny jeans by seashell bikinis and umbrella-converted jelly fish, Coney Island was still a carnival through and through.
When we got off the train among the thousands of Mermaid Paraders, we watched the beginning of the parade and paid equal attention to the lively audience.
Then we indulged in Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters, fries and beer.
(I also had a chocolate and vanilla soft serve with rainbow sprinkles in a waffle cone, to the audible envy of every woman I passed).
Next we walked to the boardwalk and strolled onto the pier, where the people-watching was almost as good as the ocean view.
Leaning over the railing and noting the deep green of the water, all of a sudden we saw a fisherman tugging his string. “He’s got something!”
A few seconds later, to our amazement, we watched him pull a thrashing sting ray out of the water!
Needless to say, the catch caused quite the commotion on the pier, and a small crowd gathered around to watch the fisherman unhook the flopping ray.
Everyone watched in nervous excitement as the fisherman, an old hand at the job, got to work. I’ll spare you the rest of the story, but will say that Coney Island certainly offered more bizarre thrills than I had expected.
We sat out on the beach for a few hours, which, although not the most pristine in the world, was great for a beach read and for soaking in some… rays?
We didn’t ride the Cyclone, so we’ll have to return for some more adventure. For now, I’m happy I finally got to see the Mermaid Parade in all its glory, with a few added delights and surprises along the way.