Mermaid Parade in Coney Island today
The annual Mermaid Parade kicked off in Coney Island, New York today, but one person will be making a political statement and will be undertaking a hunger strike in protest to the proposed changes to the neighbourhood.
However the biggest draw was still the fantastic costumes and enchanting parade.
At the 25th annual Mermaid Parade on Saturday, event organizers will be encouraging people to return to Coney Island on Tuesday to testify against the city's plans to rezone the neighborhood, allowing for retail and high rise hotels in the amusement district.
"The Mermaid Parade is a celebration of the true spirit of Coney Island, so it's perfect timing actually," said Dianna Carlin, owner of the Lola Staar boutique on the boardwalk.
The parade's Queen Mermaid, Savitri D., has vowed to go without food until Tuesday's meeting.
"When we get political, we do it very artistically," said Dick Zigun, founder of the nonprofit arts organization, Coney Island USA, which started the parade in 1983.
The parade is a point of artistic pride for the city's amusement industry and is also a New York mainstay: Nearly 850,000 people turned out for last year's parade, according to the organizers.
As in years past, nautical floats and marchers dressed as mermaids, starfish and even cans of tuna fish will fill the boardwalk. Meanwhile, antique cars will be displayed on Surf Avenue.
With all the spectacles, Carlin is hoping people recognize the importance of Coney Island today and the changes that may lie ahead.
"What's important right now is spreading awareness and doing it in a fun, glittery way on Mermaid Day," she said. "I hope that the true spirit of Coney Island will triumph."