Friday, July 5, 2013

The Mermaid Parade, 2013

FDNY truck sprays water on the Mermaid Parade
 So, I went to the Mermaid Parade and a police event broke out.  Sounds like a joke, but seriously, the whole thing was pretty whacked.  I've photographed the parade for years and have always had a great time.  The real point is to by-pass the parade itself and stroll down the boardwalk to meet the mermaids and photograph them.  Great fun, well, until this year.  The photo above was taken from the New York Aquarium's bridge to the boardwalk.  Unlike other years, this was the only way to get across, at least from this end of the parade.  If you look closely at the photo you'll see a row of police cruisers.  Behind that row they had set up a pen to funnel the parade-goers like cattle.  It was unbelievably and unnecessarily crowded.  [more below the fold]

Close-Up shot of police cruisers
The photo to the right gives a better idea of the police presence.  From my vantage point, it was police vehicles all the way down, as far as I could see.

I don't know what precipitated this, whether it was in response to an actual threat or as a preventative measure in the aftermath of the Boston Bombing incident.  I also don't mean to criticize the NYPD for a strong presence.  My main issue is the way they did it.  They protected and controlled the parade to the point of ruining it.

A patrolman stands watch.
Aside from being penned in as we were, once we finally made it across to the boardwalk, we found we were further penned in as well.  In every previous parade, I have been able to walk the length and breadth of the boardwalk unimpeded.  Not this time.

When we got to about a third of the way down the boardwalk, we found yet another barricade.  The entire middle section of the boardwalk was blocked off so as to facilitate videoing the parade.  In the past, the parade had never actually wound its way onto the boardwalk but terminated much earlier.  This year, the entire center section of the boardwalk was off-limits.

Essentially, this year's parade was one long photo-op with extreme security presence.  It was protected to the point of it being stifled.  It's a real shame but also so indicative of what's happened to the US since 911, we've effectively become a security state.  I miss the '90s.

Still, we did encounter a live music party near the barricade and pretty much joined that, but that will be the subject of a later post.

No comments:

Post a Comment