By Bert Sanders
As the legendary Robert Hunter once wrote, “Summer flies and August dies.” Although we are not quite there yet, every salty summer lover is beginning to feel the despair and desperation that comes with the slow but steady death that summer will inevitably endure. There is also a tinge of excitement about the coming of September, which many consider a bonus summer season for the dwellers of this peninsula on the edge of the great city. Besides hurricane surf, north winds, and great fishing, September brings us summer’s great encore: Poseidon’s Parade!
This year’s parade will kick off Saturday, September 16, and promises to be the biggest ever. The Rockaway Mermaid Brigade has been working overtime to make this year another magical day on the boardless walk and beyond. In fact, the judges have already been selected. In the words of Queen Brouder, “The judges are by far the most qualified collectively and include both artistic and ruthless individuals that will bring legitimacy and uneasiness to the entire affair.
On the artistic side of the panel sits Jamaica Bay’s very own, Jennifer Porcheddu. This founding member of Paint Party New York and renowned teacher of marine biology is by far, the most credentialed judge this panel has seen since Billy Campion took the gavel in 2019. Beside her will sit fellow channel dweller and renowned local photographer and journalist: Dan Guarino. Dan will be the first former RAA president to sit on the lifeguard chair panel and use his creative eye to harshly judge the seaside strollers.
Continuing over the bridge through the one one 69 three, comes the world-famous Erin Zingara of Zingara Vintage. This badass businesswoman has put Rockaway on the fashion world map with her Terry Cloth Collection which is displayed prominently at her storefront across from Rockaway Mermaid Brigade Headquarters. Her sass and style have become a permanent fixture of the neighborhood, and her no funny business attitude will bring a sense of credibility and conviction to the panel.
The last of the one one 69 three judges will be judging her second major Rockaway event of the summer. After her role as judge in the controversial victory by 73 in the Shack Olympics, Connolly’s bartender and former lifeguard Annie White, looks forward to judging an event that doesn’t involve hundreds of adrenaline-pumped aquatic athletes screaming in her face. Hopefully her experience earlier this summer will help her deal with adrenaline pumped artistic maniacs screaming in her face at the awards ceremony at the Beach 97th concession.
Speaking of manics, the final judge is a Howard Beach transplant who will sit on the panel as this year’s “wildcard.” Jason McMilleon is a local legend who dedicates his life to helping children as a para. He also leads an amazing career as a wedding planner, where he is able to bring his ruthless sarcasm, general party knowledge, and his refined palate to make sure young couples have the perfect start to their life sentence together. Many can recall his horror as the dragon boat sputtered helplessly in the bay disrupting the meticulous timing of Queen Casey’s nuptial reception with local attention seeker, Bobby Butler. The professionalism that got him through that night, will be on display during this year’s summer ending strut.
The Brigade will be holding a costume exchange and giveaway on Saturday, August 19 at Solshyne’s performance at the Beach 97th concession. Look for updates on Poseidonsparade.com, where registration should be open by the end of this week. The Brigade encourages you to start planning now. There will be more updates over the next couple of weeks! Stay Salty!