In 2003, the first time that I went to Coney Island's Mermaid Parade, I actually dressed up and marched in the parade. My costume, such as it was, consisted of some nets woven with colored paper and hung with a collection of rubber sea creatures — a blue whale, a couple of squid, and a mermaid Barbie knock-off doll. I suppose I was some kind of allegory of overfishing. I also wore a rain jacket, because the parade took place in the middle of a torrential rainstorm. The rain may have made my bedraggled 'recently-trawled' look more authentic, but as a costume it wasn't exactly prize-winning material.
This year, by contrast, was bright and hot, and the parade was a much bigger and more spectacular affair. The participants included mermaids in every variety, size and hue, several dozen assorted Neptunes, stilt walkers, women with ferris wheels on their heads, schools of jellyfish, a large tree, marching bands, parasol-twirling dancers, a crowd of women in Marie Antoinette wigs towing a guillotine, a handful of robots, and much more besides.