Mermaid Parade returns to Coney Island, Mx Justin Vivian Bond, Dr. Chokshi serve as parade royalty

CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (WABC) -- The Mermaid Parade celebrating the art community and featuring participants dressed in hand-made costumes returned to Coney Island Saturday.

This year's celebration was led by Tony-nominated performer and transgender activist Mx Justin Vivian Bond and former New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi as Queen Mermaid and King Neptune.

The parade kicked off on West 21st Street and Surf Avenue.

People were decked out in shiny handmade costumes from head to tail -- reeling in creative spirits like Azriel Fernandez.

"I chose rope because fishes are always getting caught," Fernandez said, adding that the parade puts life into perspective.

Comraderie is what keeps the thousands along Surf Avenue, including Debborrah Parris coming back to the largest art parade in the country.

"I love it because you see the beauty of New York City," Parris said.

This was the first year of the event since the start of the pandemic - breathing fresh air into a community that organizers say relies heavily on visitors like Ryan Greer and his family.



While Greer has been to the parade several times, it is a first for his partner and little one - keeping traditions afloat both old and new.

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