Coney Island Polar Bear Club Ushers in 2012 With Annual Frigid Dip


The Coney Island Polar Bear Club, the “oldest winter bathing organization in the United States,” was at it again with aplomb over the weekend for their annual New Year’s Day swim. Photographer C.S. Muncy was there to get some shots. While it was warmer than usual as far as outside temperatures run this time of year, the water was a reported 45 degrees and “one heck of an ice bath,” per one participant. If semi-nude bathers willingly plunging into frigid waters in January are a thermometer of the times, styles for 2012 are skimpy, but hats are definitely in, as are (still) homemade Occupy signs.

The swim, which was open to the public, raised $38,768.24 for Camp Sunshine, a Maine retreat for children suffering life-threatening illnesses and their families.

The Polar Bears plunge into the Atlantic at Coney Island every Sunday from November through April. If you missed the dip on the 1st, you can join in for a guest swim (details here) to try it out and see if you want to become a member.

Or, just check out our slideshow of the event here, from the cozy land-based comfort of your own home or office.