Last Sunday afternoon, thousands of Coney Island revelers took a leaping plunge into 2017.
It was a relatively warm 48-degree winter day — which was lucky for the hoards of health nuts, veteran swimmers, and costumed characters who dove into the Atlantic Ocean for the 113th annual Polar Bear Swim.
The Coney Island Polar Bear Club is made up of the nation’s oldest cold-weather bathers, founded in 1903 by health advocate Benarr McFadden. But in recent years, party animals come from all over New York City to jumpstart their new years and nervous systems for this bucket-list event.
And it’s not just freezing your butt off for nothing — the club’s annual swim doubles as a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine in Maine. And this year, swimmers raised more than $80,000 for the charity, said the club’s founder.
The party began on shore, with drummers, bagpipers, and cheerleaders to light a fire under the wave-dashers’ cold feet.
From the look on the bather’s faces, the afternoon was a wellspring of sheer glee mixed with a dash of terror — which seems like the state of mind to embrace the unknown world in the year ahead. Read more about what it feels like to take the plunge here.
Check out more of our favorite social media pics from the Coney Island plunge. Do you have a photo or memory of the day to share? Email us at email@example.com and we’ll add it to our growing (not shrinkage) list.