Posts Tagged ‘Coney Island Mardi Gras’

Color and confetti at the Coney Island Mardi Gras

October 15, 2010

“Coney Island’s week of fun, the Coney Island Mardi Gras, which has become an established custom and brings to an end to each Coney season, began last night in a blaze of color and with much music and confetti,” wrote The New York Times on September 10, 1912.

It must have been crazy fun: thousands of spectators cheering dozens of parade floats along Surf Avenue on a late September night.

Revelers in costume marching along the floats, and a king and a queen were crowned every year.

The Mardi Gras started in 1903 as a fund-raising vehicle for the Coney Island Rescue Mission, which served “wayward” young women, according to John H. Kasson’s Amusing the Million.

[Photos: Bain News Service, 1910 or 1915 (top) and 1908]

It lasted until 1953—just about when Coney Island began losing its appeal as the city’s summer playground.

In its place we have the fabulous Mermaid Parade—itself inspired by the anything-goes craziness of the early 20th century Coney carnival.