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Coney Island has such a distinct culture that the sixth boro (the watery parts between the five terra-boros) should just annex it.

Very introductory but fascinating  history of Coney’s evolution can be had in these short articles by Lisa Iannucci, Jeffrey Stanton, and Laurence Aurbach Jr. One theme of these articles is that Coney has a rich history of  inverting the genteel norms, entertaining rather than uplifting, dissolving the distinction between audience and performer, and (for a holiday) legitimizing some folks’ ideas of the illegitimate.  (Some of those phrases come from the lecture by Goeff Zylstra recently at Alongtheshore.)  It sounds like the alongshore of Coney makes a candidate for the capital of the sixth boro, and the Mermaid Parade its official holiday.

May these few fotos whet your appetite!  Doubleclick enlarges.  More tomorrow.  I took this foto almost immediately after arriving yesterday, and I was so happy I could have gone home satisfied.  Mermaids exude such grace!

Dick Zigun, mayor of Coney,  leads off the 20th annual parade.  Thanks for ALL your efforts, Dick and crew.  Oceans of appreciation to all the performers!

King Neptune and Queen Mermaid aka Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson ride the ceremonial cart.

Charm and

ferocity,

Fun for all ages, youngsters

of all ages:  THIS is the circus that has come to Coney.

Beplumed posteriors and

profiles,  they have given me a smile I can’t erase for days, months even.

Those black smudges . . . yeah, the parade did have its dirty parts, but for that, your patience until tomorrow is required.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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