In very unfortunate but somewhat unsurprising news today, this year's iteration of the beloved Coney Island Mermaid Parade has been canceled in light of the resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
"The Parade draws hundreds of thousands to Coney Island every year, including large numbers of children, many crowding onto mass transit for the ride out to Stillwell Avenue," organizers wrote in an email. "It is the centerpiece of the CIUSA calendar, and we are very proud of the positive impact that the Parade has on our Coney Island community. However, the risks to our sponsors, patrons, community and our wonderful staff—who have risen to every challenge—were too much to bear."
After being put on virtual lockdown in 2020 due to the pandemic, organizers announced earlier this summer that the 39th Annual Mermaid Parade would take place on Sunday, September 12th. While it normally takes place in June, this date was significant in marking the last day the beach will be open with lifeguards on duty. Playwright Lynn Nottage and filmmaker Tony Gerber were to have served as this year's Queen Mermaid and King Neptune.
"We are all disappointed and apologize to those of you who, like us, were looking forward to this annual celebration of life, creativity and togetherness, post-2020," the organizers added. "Please be assured that the Mermaid Parade will return in 2022, better than ever!"
The parade, which was started in 1983, has taken place every year on Surf Avenue and the boardwalk until 2020. Last summer, it was held virtually and billed as a TAIL-A-THON, and it was also represented in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park and Luna Park in Coney Island reopened April 9th, for the first time since October 19th, 2019.
Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of the Alliance for Coney Island, told Gothamist their group supported the difficult decision.
"We are very saddened to learn that the 2021 Mermaid Parade has been cancelled but know it is the right decision considering how large of an event it is and the inability to ensure public health," she said. "We know that the long awaited 2022 Mermaid Parade will truly be a sight to behold and a joyous occasion. We yearn for that day next year! Until then, we encourage everyone to continue to safely visit our attractions and support our small businesses who need your support and love more than ever."