The Mermaid Parade, Coney Island’s annual crowd-pleaser and glitter-industry Black Friday, is back on solid financial footing — and not a moment too soon — thanks to an unexpected deus ex machina: the intervention of two generous private donations supplementing an ongoing crowdfunding campaign.
Despite the recent news that Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie fame will raise their scepters as this year’s Queen Mermaid and King Neptune, the Parade had been struggling. A “Feed the Mermaids” crowdfunding campaign to save the parade has so far raised $9,000, far short of its $50,000 goal.
But real estate investor Meyer Orbach of the Orbach Group has intervened with a $20,000 donation, and Coney Island Brewing Company is putting up $5,000. Between these donations and the crowdfunding campaign, the Parade — which is less than a month away — appears to be safely back on track.
“We’re confident the parade is gonna be fine,” said Dick Zigun, the founder of Coney Island USA (“defending the honor of American popular culture”), the not-for-profit that also operates the Coney Island Museum, circus sideshow, and Burlesque on the Beach. Lately the organization has been a bit strapped for cash, and the 2013 Mermaid Parade, after Hurricane Sandy, was also crowdfunded.
More news: The Coney Island Museum is expanding with a wing devoted to vintage pinball. “It will be curated, so it qualifies as a museum, but a museum where you can put quarters in and play,” said Zigun. The pinball museum’s soft launch is Monday.
This Saturday’s HennyPalooza music-booze-and-dancing event in Coney Island also appears to be in rude health — completely sold out, in fact, with resale tickets going for $300+ on StubHub. Starting as a Harlem houseparty in 2012, HennyPalooza grew into a prestige event series thanks to explosive word-of-mouth marketing on social media. For those who missed out on tickets, there’s also an afterparty at Webster Hall.