You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Coney Island’ tag.

The parade lasted at my location from 1300 until 1530 . . . so many more photos–a few hundred–stay in the archives.  This last installment can be called vehicles and politics, although political caricature might be more accurate.

A few days before the parade, my friend Orlando Mendez caught these three vessels headed eastbound, just off the beach.  Yes, three.  Notice the front of the bow of a tug on the far side of the lead houseboat.  Anyone know who that was?

Maybe it was a mermaid trojan vessel . . . since a certain resemblance can be seen here . . .  I don’t know the name of this silvery submarine . . .

Behold the flying merlendas . . .

Andy Golub‘s creations,

a Farmall ratrod,

a Ford red belly,


clever signs,

the repurposed composting true that

allows me to get a self-portrait  (Notice how few spectators surround me . . . .),

floats with

cheery self-takers,

and then the politicizers and caricaturists…

I wonder . . . this looks like the crowned figure made an appearance


All photos by Will Van Dorp.


Yesterday’s post was the lead-up.  The parade never starts until the man with the Coney drum steps out.

This year mermaid queen was Debbie Harry.

After that, it was lots of dancing and music. . . .  click here to listen to Fogo Azul’s Brazilian sound.  See more Fogo AzulNYC here.

I love the beer can on the drum here, and

the edginess of playing an electric oud in the rain . . . Gypsyfunksquad . . . I made a video of them last year here.

The fog and showers seemed to animate the musicians and dancers, and



heighten the colors, like

this fierce contender, whom I

had gotten a close-up of earlier.

I’ll wager there were more people in the parade than watching it, generally a boon for photographers….



Crop rotation mermaids included soybeans, wheat, and  . . .



Colors and hoops and

. .  . crescents or arcs?

Colors abound but

this has to be the strangest dazzling costume ever . . .

All photos by Will Van Dorp.  Tomorrow . . . the odd bedfellows of mermaids, vehicles, and politics.



Here’s the most explicit explanation ever on this blog about Coney Island–part of Brooklyn–and the parade that’s happened there each summer solstice since   . . . time immemorial almost.  Today’s Daily News used adjectives like dreary, gloomy, and unruly to describe the day . . . .  Unruly? . . . we’ve been an unruly nation since even before the merfolk started coming ashore.  Dreary and gloomy . . . we’re talking about creatures who spend their lives in the watery parts of the world;  as they assembled, they seemed delighted to have only some water.  The NYPost actually got the story better this time.  These merfolk musicians played their hearts out in the rain. . .

These danced on sidewalks as they splashed their way to the gathering point . . .

hopping puddles with all their appendages and finery  . . .

But this year I first noticed the checkpoints merfolk had to negotiate  . . .

I don’t know if TSA served as consultant here.  I’ll call the gatekeepers MSA, and

they were pleasant .. .


as were merfolk.

From inside the gathering point, Ford’s Amphitheater, a human version of a hermit crab’s shell . . . some thrashed about,

others–although this may be a terrestrial wearing deepwater shoes– looked longfully out to the wet streets where they preferred to be,

some mimicked rain,

some imitated human material culture they’d seen around the sixth boro,

some rehearsed their music,

and others just showed the souvenirs they’d purchased during their annual shore leave.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.  More to come tomorrow and Tuesday.  Click here for previous mermaid posts on tugster.

I’d be interested in hearing from the Netherlands where the Coney Island event has spawned a Dutch version, called Zeemeerminnen parade . . .


Most paraders don outlandish costumes, like this one . . . how could there be a chicken-of-the-sea


named Lady Gaga.


And these next two photos MIGHT puzzle you . . . since the woman in black shorts and boots seems to command a lot of attention even though she is not particularly be-costumed.


Lots of attention and with a weird parasol.


Besides music and dance, I enjoy the costumes–however over-the-top or under-the-bottom– they may be.  Even librarians dress up and carry conventional parasols, as


do museum folk.


And it’s fun, except for the man in blue shirt blocking half the street and bombing lots of my photos;  I’m sure I’m not alone in finding that just loutish.  His press pass can’t license him to photobomb that shamelessly, can it?  Maybe someone with a press pass can weigh in on protocols for photographers at events like this?


Sometimes paraders break out of the procession and pose with the kids at the parade.  I like that.








If you haven’t seen the 1979 movie called The Warriors, here’s a reference to that.  I like that movie now because it depicts what parts of the city are said to have looked like 40 years ago.


Well, start counting down the days until the 2017 parade and make plans to be there.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.  If you didn’t recognize the woman in the black shorts near the top of this post, here’s the story.

Meanwhile, here’s my second shorter recording of Gypsyfunk Squad.  Here was the first one.

Soon after this shot, the queen of hearts and troupe danced for the judges with this on a loud sound box.  That makes for a good day, even though I can’t remember Alice, a rabbit, or the dormouse.  But that’s one of the things I love about the parade . . . good music and dancing.


After then parade, Gypsy Funk Squad played on . . .  Here’s my phone-recorded sample of King Jack Neptune playing the oud, with a mermaid queen, percussion and dancers.  Hear more oud–related to the lute–here.


Of course, Dick D. Zigun, honorific mayor of Coney Island,  always leads off the parade with his drum and band.


I’ve never seen this sort of Mexican dancer in the parade, but they surely raised the bar for quality.


And of course, mermaids can make politics much more palatable than most politicians or media marketeers.


But mostly, it’s exuberant music and ecstatic dancing.


How many starfish have you seen trumpeting?


And high octane drumming overcomes stasis.


Enjoy the photos, the solstice, and the strawberry moon.












Click here for mermaid parade years and here for annual solstice mermaid migration years.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp, who WAS a judge!


Let’s follow the evolution of this boat.  Two years ago she went by Coney Island.  I was looking forward to having a tugboat by that name in the sixth boro.   A check of the USCG vessel documentation site showed that previously she had gone by Mister Jordan, a vessel I’d never seen.


The builder’s plate showed that prior to using the Mister Jordan name, she was Beth I.  That sent me to the Blount site, where I also learned she was first built in 1958 for Bethlehem Steel, and that Vulcan III might be a twin.


Next I saw this vessel high and dry and in different colors. Now watch what happens with the stack.  It’s a black “muffler” here, and then when next I saw her,


the black housing was gone and there were two pipes with smallish mufflers sprouted from the back of the house.


Enjoy a few more shots taken in the past few months of Coastline Bay Star.


A handsome vessel working past the half century mark, launched the same year as this powerhouse and  one of these.


All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

With apologies to Johna, here are the pastries, a merman,

a merbike, but no meryak!!  Guess that one will challenge us til next year.

Horns aplenty  (more than in Pamplona Seattle)  feted the solstice, as did

hooks on lures,

harlequins of

many genres,

spiral horned,

orchestrated horns,

harlequins with parasols,

and here . . . beyond the cowboy in blue toga, library maids and masters with a classic edition of Jules Verne . . . .

By the next day, revelry had migrated to Red Hook, where theatrical scenes of fund-raising on behalf of PortSide NewYork took place, involving officers of

someone’s flotilla bearing keys to the city.  By the way, if you can make it to the Community Board 1 meeting TONIGHT by 6 pm, I’ll see you there.  Important! 

And someone commented . .  asking what this mermaidographer looked like, click here and go to #9;  thanks for these to Claudia Hehr.

Cheers.  Summer is here . . . and I may tomorrow be agallivantin . . .

Meanwhile, if anyone got good pics of the librarian mermaid/mermen contingent . . .  please share?

aka  . .  pastries pasties and paint, starting with the self-described  “naked cowgirl.”







put up






See you at south Brooklyn aka Isle of Coney next year.

Happy summertime.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Coney Island–the reef–has existed within the sixth boro since time immemorial, this gathering has occurred since 1983, and tugster has blogged it since 2007, drawn by the natural beauty of creatures–like this one— with

their altruistic sensibilities, their

bio-diversity, their

breathing behavior in dry–if muggy- air, and … more.

But I couldn’t help noticing yesterday that  . . . as the mermaids school on this reef, so does another species . . . camera-bearers.  Even chief-liaison Dick Zigun has cameras turned on him.

And mermaids themselves sport cameras, maybe as mimicry.

But yesterday the camera-bearers were everywhere!

They schooled–dare I say swarmed–each time a seamaid emerged out of the reef.

Not that the mercreatures seemed to perceive threat;  in fact,

 it looked like mutual enjoyment

a case of fun, fanfare,

flourish, and frippery.

And camera-bearers feasted at every turn.

And how do you suppose I got these fotos of

such lovely creatures, who

traveled by a range of


More on that tomorrow . . . and the pasties and paint verson of the story.

OK, all fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

Totally related:  in the third foto from end above . . . one mermaid sported a tugboat atop her hear but my shot was blurry.  Also, I missed a shot of the “librarian mermaids,”  which, if anyone got, I’d love a link or a copy.

Back to that foto of the other day, the  third one down here that maybe baffled you . . . made you wonder if it got dropped in by error?    Well, it was taken at Coney Island last summer, the place I usually depict as  here or in fotos like the one below,



Coney Island is the location where the slightly sordid transaction involving tugster took place last summer.  Well, money changed hands although my heart was conflicted,

and folks in the sidelines encouraged me onward, not that I wanted to proceed, of course.  I didn’t want to see where this would lead.

It’s just a kid . . . I thought . . .  .  But this is Coney Island, where the inappropriate is appropriate, a fantasy land where rules are attenuated, or even temporarily suspended, where you’re supposed to see things differently if only for a few hours.

“Go for it!  You can’t stop now . . .”  and even more explicit taunts came from both in front of me and behind me.  I was slipping on a slippery slope, thinking I had resolve

but losing control over it  . . .  “Nah,  I can’t do this,” came the inner voice.

But the jeers rose from the pit and sneers tumbled from behind, and

there was but one way out.  Forward.  I had to see this through.

The invisible tiger was stalking me,

I could smell the feline and hear it breathe,

I proceeded.  To my surprise, when my magazine was empty, I had left beauty

marks . . . scumbling on the shield canvas. . . .   yes, canvas held by my assistant.  Eureka!

You must be thinking  . . . what on earth is this all about?  Simple:  today I turn 59, and Coney Island . . .  and these 6-month-old fotos from Coney Island . . . is my way to celebrate it.  I’m surging forward into a place I’ve never been, and hoping to create order and grace from angst and doubt.  And “Coney Island” after all is the anglicized version of konijn eilandt,” konijn being rabbit, and since–in honor of the year of the rabbit— I could find NO record of a vessel passing through the harbor here EVER with a name like rabbit or hare or bunny . . . .  this is the best I can do.

And that summer’s ritual of trespassing lines of convention . . . that one cannot be repeated.  I imagined I talked with the freak the other day  as he was taking my order at the coffee shop.

Somehow related:  the Manhattan Borough historian has declared Feb 9 to be “alligators-in-the-sewers” day.    I wonder if we can get the sixth boro historian to make such proclamations . . .

Clearly related:  SP-346 aka USS Edgar F. Coney . . . was a NJ-built  WW1-era tugboat.

All but the first three fotos by Faith.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,212 other followers

If looking for specific "word" in archives, search here.
Questions, comments, photos? Email Tugster

Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.


April 2018
« Mar