Sandy Damage Costs Could Cancel Mermaid Parade
NBC 4 New York
The annual Mermaid Parade, one of the city's most colorful parades, is in danger of becoming a casualty of Sandy. Tracie Strahan reports.
The Coney Island Mermaid Parade -- one of New York City's most colorful parades -- could be canceled this year because of the cost of cleaning up after Sandy.
The organizers say they might not be able to afford to put on the show on June 22.
"I'm breaking my heart," said Dick Zigun, the parade's founder.
The Mermaid Parade began in 1983 and takes place on the Saturday closest to the first day of summer. It features revelers in skimpy Mardi Gras-style costumes.
Zigun said his group can't afford to stage the springtime spectacle since Sandy nearly demolished their Coney Island operation. He said it costs $190,000 to stage the event each year; currently, they're $100,000 short.
"If we have to, we're going to take a year off, not stop doing Mermaid Parades," said Zigun. "But we don't want to not to do it this year. We want to do it."
Word that the parade could be canceled concerned locals.
"That's kind of sad, because it's joyful, everybody has a good time. And we need good times these days," said one woman.
"They can't do that," said a man on the Coney Island boardwalk. "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. It's a big tradition."
Zigun and parade organizers are hoping crowdsourcing will help rescue this year's parade. They're holding a fundraising campaign through Kickstarter to bridge the gap.
"It's Kickstarter or bust," said Zigun. "There's a goal of $100,000. And we're serious. If the Kickstarter campaign does not work -- if the people of Brooklyn, if the Mermaid lovers of the world don't jump in -- then there won't be a parade this year."