“Breasts. I come exclusively for the breasts,” says Ronnie Koppl at the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Meanwhile, his wife, Karen, smiles, shakes her head and lightly scolds, “Ronnie, No!”
The couple had a lot to look at during the 32nd annual parade, held on Saturday, June 20. In addition to King Neptune, Dante de Blasio and Queen Mermaid, Chiara de Blasio (their parents were also there), there were parade-goers of all stripes. It’s grown from a small event for burlesque dancers, performance artists and costumed enthusiasts to one that requires barricades and press passes to manage the throngs. While it almost didn’t happen because of Hurricane Sandy’s damage last summer, it was back in full swing in 2014.
We interviewed a few of the more colorful parade goers — rookies and veterans alike — this year, asking them about what they wore, how the parade and changed and what keeps them returning each summer.