“After Superstorm Sandy, this was the first time Coney could shine,” says Coney Island resident and photographer Bruce Handy, whose empathetic shots of Coney Island people and places appear frequently on ATZ. He spent his New Year’s Day as usual taking photos on the beach and boardwalk. We’re delighted to start off a new year of photo albums with his photographs of the 2013 Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge.
“I tried to capture people in their natural element, especially emotions: happy, sad, afraid of the cold water, maybe thinking it was a good idea at home but now would rather be in a warmer place,” says Bruce. “About ninety percent of the people were very happy to start their year bathing in the medicinal waters of Coney Island. Sandy was a reminder that life is short and the Polar Bear Plunge is the answer, to follow your heart and soul, to not waste a minute, go for it.”
As ATZ previously reported, for the first time in the Polar Bear Club’s history, instead of everyone running into the water at once, groups went in approximately every seven minutes, a couple hundred at a time. “Each of the five runs was different, all the people were very enthusiastic,” says Bruce. Last year on New Year’s Day, temps in the 50s drew a record number of celebrants– more than 3,000– making the changes advisable from a safety standpoint. This year, tempa were in the 30s and the event drew approximately 2,000 swimmers, according to Dennis Thomas, president of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club.
Related posts on ATZ…
September 23, 2012: Photo Album: First Brunch at Tom’s Coney Island by Bruce Handy
January 3, 2012: Record 3,000 “Do It” at Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge
October 31, 2011: Photo Album: Snowtober in Coney Island by Bruce Handy