Sections

The 111th annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge

Coney winter bathers raise $65,000 for charity

Brooklyn Daily
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Call them “Da Brrrs!”

Some 2,000 hot-blooded swimmers celebrated the start of 2014 by diving into the 39-degree waters at the People’s Playground’s shore in the 111th annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge.

The Jan. 1 dunk is the biggest event of the year for the Coney Island Polar Bear club, which normally draws 80–100 cold-ocean jumpers to each of its weekly Sunday swims between November and April. Organizers said the New Year’s plunge has seen a rising tide of popularity in the past decade, as the club’s publicity has swelled and Sodom by the Sea’s reputation as a destination has surged.

“Once, when we had 60 or 100 members show up, we thought that was huge,” said club president Dennis Thomas, a 30-year-veteran of the frigid dipping group. “This is a New York tradition we have worked hard to grow and continue.”

Thomas described hitting the wintry waves as simultaneously jarring and relaxing, as the raw experience takes the swimmer’s mind away from daily cares.

“Being in water like that is just utter intensity and immediacy,” said Thomas. “It just take you to a different place.”

But the cold, cold water belies the Polar Bears’ warm hearts. For the past eight years, the club has asked swimmers and their families pledge money for Camp Sunrise, a free Maine retreat for seriously-ill children and their parents — and on Wednesday the group raised a whopping $65,000 — almost three times the amount collected in 2013.

“It was a huge year,” said Thomas, praising the staff at Camp Sunrise. “They are just the greatest team to work with. There’s so many people who work there who do it just out of care and love.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: