Grand cold time! Register now for Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

Local color: People’s Playground photographers put Coney on display
Photo by Bruce Handy

Do you dare to take the dip?

Organizers of Coney Island’s annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge officially opened registration for the teeth-chattering event on Monday.

Locals willing to brave the frigid waters can now sign up through the day of the plunge, according to plunge co-sponsors the Alliance for Coney Island and the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, who encourage daredevils to register in advance via the club’s website.

The free fund-raiser benefits local organizations including the Alliance, the New York Aquarium, Coney Island USA, and the Coney Island History Project, among others. Its organizers suggest divers donate a minimum of $25, and recommend that prospective plungers sign up ahead of time online, but added that participants can register in-person between 10 am and noon on Jan. 1, before the ocean dip begins at 1 pm sharp.

Swimmers will meet at the beach near Boardwalk and Stillwell avenues, before sprinting towards the bone-chilling watery abyss in groups of 500 to jump in for a good cause.

Organizers hope to collect at least $80,000 this year — nearly double the amount last year’s 1,200 swimmers raised on a day that saw icy ocean temperatures of 37 degrees — according to reps.

And the hosts recommend all plungers plan to bring a set of warm clothes, a towel, a camera to document the moment, and old sneakers to protect their feet in the cold.

Polar Bear Plunge [Riegelmann Boardwalk near Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, (917) 533–3568, www.polarbearclub.org]. Jan. 1 at 1 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.