There was no room for cold feet on this beach!
The bravest of Brooklynites converged on Coney Island Beach on the first day of 2018 to take part in a more-than-century-old tradition of starting the new year with a plunge into the icy January waters. But temperatures in the mid-teens meant that this year’s event wasn’t as well attended as years past, according to the president of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, which organizes the frigid festivities.
“It was cold,” said Dennis Thomas. “I think the previous years have been notable because they’ve been unusually warm.”
Indeed, the 37-degree water temperatures cut the crowd down from last year’s 2,500 swimmers — who happily headed for the waters in the 53-degree heat — by about half, to 1,200 this year, according to Thomas. But the splashy swimmers still managed to raise about $43,000 for local organizations, including the Alliance for Coney Island, Coney Island USA, and the New York Aquarium, according to Thomas.
A deejay spun tunes to pump up locals before the 1 pm start time, when the horde of brash Brooklynites lunged for the waves, where they flailed and dove while trying to retain some feeling in their limbs. And after they emerged from the waters unscathed — with some in costume as grizzly bears, fish, lobsters, and even unicorns — they warmed up with hot chocolate provided by local Kitchen 21. Others headed to after parties at the Coney Island Brewing Company and the Steeplechase Bear Garden.
The frigid temperatures ultimately didn’t put a chill on the day’s party vibe, according to Thomas, who added that the annual event retains a hype all its own.
“Despite the cold, people were excited and energetic,” he said. “Even in this kind of weather, it’s a big New Year’s party, still.”
©2018 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.