One of the city’s most delightful and yet more obscure summer traditions popped off in Rockaway again this year, with the Battle for Mau Mau Island once again pitting teams of costumed “art gangs” against each other on a flotilla of makeshit rafts. Photographer Nick McManus, a member of team Squiggles, was on Jamaica Bay to capture the madness of the event’s fifth year, taking photos from a two-man kayak abreast of the action. He tells us, “Challenges such as the pictured pugil-stick jousting were held till sundown when everyuone went to a nearby campsite to party all night.”
This year, an online art salon helped fund the Battle For Mau Mau, which described itself as “an important symbol of how we can combat the advancements of ‘THE NOTHING’ by reclaiming public space as a forum for shared self expression, experimentation and cathartic, visceral enjoyment.” (So, the Mermaid Parade before it was coopted by Sports Illustrated.) Among the items for sale were lessons on how to buy drugs via the dark web, a “crotch wine fountain” built into a mannequin, House of Yes tickets, and a hand-sewn garter that doubles as a flask holder– plus artwork by organizer and judge Orien Mcneill, among others.