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Posts Tagged ‘Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge’

Polar Bear Plunge

Viking Beauty and Photographer. Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Plunge 2014. Photo © Barry Yanowitz

Based on the videos and photos of Coney Island’s New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge, most people stripped down to swimsuits or athletic wear. But a contingent of creative folk once again came prepared with wacky headgear, costumes and accoutrements in the spirit of the Mermaid Parade. Brooklyn photographer Barry Yanowitz captured the best of the best. In the above photo, he even managed to get a bikini-clad Viking beauty and a photographer wearing a full wetsuit in the same frame. “I bought waterproof boots last year, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go,” says Barry, who grew up in Coney Island and lived here until graduating from college in 1995.

Polar Bear Plunge

Formal Tea at Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Plunge 2014. Photo © Barry Yanowitz

ATZ’s award for best dressed males and best set design at the Polar Bear Plunge goes to the two gentlemen in formal wear who carried a tabletop set for tea into the surf. In a tableau reminiscent of Improv Everywhere’s “Black Tie Beach,” they poured tea for fellow swimmers.

Polar Bear Plunge

Formal Tea at Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Plunge 2014. Photo © Barry Yanowitz

Among the Santas, superheroes, angels, devils and spirit animals, this loving couple–Wonder Woman and Hulk Hogan– stood out. You can see more of Barry Yanowitz’s photos from his New Year’s Day set on his website.

Polar Bear Plunge

Wonder Woman and Hulk Hogan at Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Plunge 2014. Photo © Barry Yanowitz

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Related posts on ATZ…

January 2, 2014: Photo Album: A Happy New Year’s Day in Coney Island

January 3, 2012: Record 3,000 “Do It” at Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

December 18, 2011: Playing Santa at the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

February 23, 2011: Double Exposure: Photographer Barry Yanowitz & Coney Island on BCAT TV

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Coney Island Polar Club

Members of the Coney Island Polar Club enjoy a Sunday Swim, December 22, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy via Coney Island Photo Diary

The Coney Island Polar Bears, the oldest winter bathing club in the country, go for a dip in the Atlantic every Sunday starting in November. On January 1st, everyone’s invited to join the party. The Polar Bear Plunge is a fun way to spend New Year’s Day, whether you brave the water or snap photos from the shore. Some of the costumed plungers in Bruce Handy’s photos of past New Year’s Days are reminiscent of the Mermaid Parade. There’s the Metrocard Man, Big Babies in Diapers, Hawaiian dancers, and many superheroes, as well as penguins, ducks, and of course polar bears!

Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

Costumed Characters: Asbury Toll Plaza Meets MetroCard Man at 2013 Polar Bear Plunge, January 1, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy via Coney Island Photo Diary

The zany event is also a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine, where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families can enjoy a summer holiday. You can register and pledge a donation to this year’s plunge or help participants meet their fundraising goals here. Swim time is 1pm, but it’s best to arrive early. About 2,000 people joined last year’s Plunge, earning an “I Did It” certificate from the Club and bragging rights forever while raising more than $22,000 for Camp Sunshine.

Among the stores that will be open for New Year’s Day are Nathan’s, Ruby’s Bar, The Freak Bar, Tom’s Coney Island and Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, along with Williams Candy, Lola Star’s Boardwalk Boutique, Coney Island and Brooklyn Beach Shops, and Brooklyn Rock. For the first time ever, the Coney Island Circus Sideshow will perform on New Year’s Day, with continuous shows from 2-6pm 12-7pm.

Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

2012 Polar Bear Plunge, January 1, 2012. Photo © Bruce Handy via Coney Island Photo Diary

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Related posts on ATZ…

January 1, 2013: Videos of the Day: Coney Island Polar Bear New Year’s Day Plunge 2013

January 3, 2012: Record 3,000 “Do It” at Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

December 18, 2011: Playing Santa at the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

Jan 2, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk, New Year’s Day 2010

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Coney Island Polar Bear New Year’s Day Plunge

Coney Island Polar Bear New Year’s Day Plunge, January 1, 2013. Photo © Bruce Handy via Coney Island Photo Diary

“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.

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Related posts on ATZ…

January 1, 2013: Videos of the Day: Coney Island Polar Bear New Year’s Day Plunge 2013

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

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