Coney Island Polar Bear plungers take annual dip to ring in 2024

Lauren Glassberg Image
Monday, January 1, 2024
Revelers ring in 2024 with frigid plunge at Coney Island
Lauren Glassberg has the story.

CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (WABC) -- While the Times Square ball drop is one New Year's tradition, another annual plunge took place at Coney Island.

This year, a record-setting number of participants took part in the 121st annual Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year's Day plunge on Monday.

"We ride bikes and jump in extremely cold water, but we do it together," said Lisa Gillespe, one of the many who partook in the traditional plunge.

The Coney Island Polar Bear Club is the oldest winter bathing organization in the United States.

Since 1903, they have been hosting a public New Year's Day Plunge to welcome in the New Year.

"You get to wash away everything you did in 2023, anything that didn't go well, and look ahead to 2024," said Shelly Wilson.

Each year, the free event generates more cheers than burr, since there is that sense of accomplishment, a certificate, and the community component.

Individuals who participate help raise funds to help the local community.

"I like it for the fact that what the Polar Bears are doing is they're raising funds for local businesses around the community," said Olu Faloye. "I just wanted to come out and support it. It was an amazing experience."

All in all, another incentive to strip down, take a dip and make a memory.


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