Freezin’ For A Reason Coney Island’s New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge!

Freezin' For A Reason Coney Island's New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge!

Every year on New Year’s Day, there is a Polar Bear Plunge at Coney Island. That’s when the Polar Bear Club, and anyone else who wants to do it, runs into the freezing cold Atlantic ocean on New Year’s Day.

This event is not only for fun. It is also a charity event.

No one  participating has to pay, but if you decide to pay, the money goes to Camp Sunshine in Maine. Camp Sunshine is a camp for dangerously sick children. In this camp, the children can take their minds off their sicknesses for a while, and just hang out with their families and make new friends. Also, if you do decide to give charity, you can get additional items like t-shirts and stickers, as well as free admission to the New York aquarium.

When you go to the plunge, you’re most likely going to make a day out of it.

Usually, the Wonder Wheel (Coney Island’s famous ferris wheel)  is closed in the winter, but it opens especially for the plunge (and that money also goes to Camp Sunshine, too).

You can also do stuff, like have hot cocoa and eat breakfast in the restaurants on the boardwalk. Afterwards, with your free admission, you can go to the aquarium, and a bit after that, why not go to the Polar Bear Plunge tailgate party?  

To organize the chaos, there are different groups that go into the water at different times, depending on what time they get there.

This year, the first group had blue wrist bands, and went at 1:00pm. The second group had red wrist bands and went at 1:05pm, and so on.

But, the action on the beach is the best.

There are crowds of viewers watching you. Bands are playing. People are taking videos and pictures to post online, and put in the newspaper. There are people in costume. There are helicopters overhead, and the coastguards in the distance.

You are the center of attention. You can’t help but smile, and chant and cheer with the crowd.

The water was freezing! Almost literally. The water was 39 degrees Fahrenheit! 

Everyone was screaming as loud as they could, so it wouldn’t feel as cold…until you actually got out of the water. Then, I was so cold that my legs were numb!

There was every type of Polar Bear plunger, from the “chicken dippers” who only stuck their big toe into water, to the crazy people actually diving in over their heads! It was so much fun!  

This event was also held at Long Beach, but if you weren’t able to go to either plunge, for Super Bowl Sunday (February 5), Long Beach will be holding another plunge.

The charity that day will be Make-A-Wish. The Polar Bear Club meets every Sunday from November to April, if anyone you know is into really cold water.

But everyone knows they’re “freezin’ for a reason,” and a good one too–Camp Sunshine.