Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end to summer here in Rockaway. At least, it always has been. About three years ago, the Parks Department decided to keep the beaches open for an extra week, and the tradition has continued. Labor Day used to mean a sharp decline in DFDs, the disappearance of the ticket-hungry summer detail and PEP officers, the start to the school year, and the much-anticipated arrival of hurricane surf. September used to be called, “secret summer,” or “Rockaway Summer.” Nowadays the summer insanity rolls right on until the summer is officially put to bed with Poseidon’s Parade.
Despite this recent revision to the Rockaway calendar, Labor Day weekend still has the feel of a desperate last gasp of summer air before we burrow into our winter holes. I realized that my coverage of this year’s parade has left out an important element of this salty beach town: “The dudes.”
While there are varying, strong held, controversial feelings about who qualifies as a “local” surfer, I knew I’d find dudes at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club. I figured I’d catch a few slugging down Modelos and Konas while telling exaggerated tales of personal triumphs in the sea. Instead, I was treated to a legendary Locals Surf School Bash. It was the premier of “Snack Town,” a locally-filmed and produced skate video. The bash included live music, the skate video projected on a huge screen, and the biggest gathering of dudes since Rockstock and Barrels. As I approached the party, listening to the band echo under the train tracks, I knew I’d find the person I was trying to pin down for an interview. Sure enough, I bumped directly into the “Dude of Dudetown” himself: Mr. Jimmy Dowd.
Mr. Dowd is Poseidon’s Parade’s official MC. He will be brandishing the brigade’s official bullhorn and narrating whatever the parade may bring. As Jerry Rea once said, “Dowd the Loud always brings the crowd and makes us proud.” I presented him with the official parade judging category list that I recently acquired from the Brigade.
This year, the parade participants will be judged in the following categories: “Best Children’s Group,” “Best Adult Group,” “Best Block,” “Best Recycled Mermaid” (costume made from recycled material), “Best Bike,” “Best Pet,” “Best Baby Carriage / Wagon,” the highly-contested, “Best Pub / Restaurant,” “Best Individual,” “Best Float,” and “Best Performance.”
Jimmy looked at the list, closed his eyes, and ripped into an intense air guitar solo. While he head-banged away, I knew the interview had concluded. More importantly, I knew he was amped up for the parade. Check out St. James gear at Boarder’s Surf Shop.
On Sunday, I used some intel from the old country to track down Casey Butler so I could check in about the parade. Kingdom Kerry, was facing off against a heavily-favored Dublin team in the All Ireland Championship. Despite the time difference, Rogers was packed at 10 a.m. with screaming fans of both teams. Sure enough, I found Casey in the Kerry corner with the O’Sheas and McGoverns yelling at every kick. The game ended in the most European way possible: a tie. They will replay the game on September 14. (Imagine the Super Bowl ending in a tie, only to be replayed two weeks later. Go figure.)
After the confusing conclusion, Casey told me that the Brigade is currently concentrating their efforts on trophy creation. Poseidon’s Parade features artistic homemade trophies that adds to the competitive element of the parade. Interestingly enough, the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island has gone back to homemade trophies. Perhaps there is a spy in the ranks of The Rockaway Mermaid Brigade... Make sure to register for the parade at http://www.poseidonsparade.com.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS