The Fabulous Mermaid School at World of Swimming in Coney Island, Brooklyn

In the heat of the New York City summer, Gothamist associate editor Rebecca Fishbein and videographer Jessica Leibowitz spent a day in Coney Island, Brooklyn visiting the Mermaid School at World of Swimming. The skilled instructors at the school teach the students how to swim like a mermaid, a feat that requires a great deal of core strength, and in doing so, encourage self-confidence and pride. While speaking with Gothamist, Cookie DeJesus, the Harlem Mermaid, pronounced how good being a mermaid feels.

It helps me be me, to be free. No hangups, I don’t think about whether I’m fat, I’m skinny, I’m just a mermaid. And as a mermaid, I feel beautiful.