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

Howler: Photographer Bruce Handy captured the quintessential magic moment of a Coney Island Polar Bear plunge — and is putting it on display at a new exhibition.
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.
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