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Posts Tagged ‘Coney Recovers’

ATZ is pleased to present this Coney Island Polar Bear’s eye view of the 2013 New Year’s Day Plunge with videos by Polar Bear Club members Jim McDonnell and Princess Mermaid Capri. The Polar Bear Club, which has 150 members who swim every Sunday in the winter, celebrated their 110th year with the 2013 New Year’s Day Plunge. About 2,000 people participated in today’s event, which is free and open to the public. They earned an “I Did It” certificate from the Club and “bragging rights forever,” as one participant says in Jim’s video. The water temperature was 41F/5C, air temp 37F and wind chill 27F, according to Capri.

For the first time in the Polar Bear Club’s history, instead of everyone running into the water at once, waves of people went in approximately every seven minutes, a couple hundred at a time. Also for the first time, registration was mandatory for the New Year’s Day Plunge since participants were issued color-coded wristbands. Those with blue wristbands were in the first wave of swimmers at 1pm, followed by red, green, orange and purple. Here’s the first wave…

“It went very well,” Polar Bear President Dennis Thomas told ATZ. “The Parks Department wanted a little more control and less chaos. And we did a better job of getting everyone registered.” Last year on New Year’s Day, temps in the 50s drew a record number of participants– more than 3,000– making the changes advisable from a safety standpoint.

Besides being a great way to start off the new year, the annual event is a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life threatening diseases. According to Thomas, almost $22,000 was raised for Camp Sunshine and they expect to meet their goal of $25,000. This year, funds are also being raised for Coney Recovers, a coalition of local nonprofits helping with relief efforts after SuperStorm Sandy. If you missed the event, it’s not too late to donate online or mail in a check.

This video by Princess Mermaid Capri shows the fourth wave of swimmers…

Some of the wacky costumed characters are familiar from previous years’ swims or reminiscent of the Mermaid Parade. In photos and videos, we spotted the bagpiper, the Metrocard Man, Santa Claus, Hawaiians, various superheroes and the guys with the inflatable octopus toy as well as penguins and polar bears! Some carried hand-made signs that read “Free Polar Hugs” and “Polar Bears from the Bronx.” Two Japanese guys in bikinis from Tokyo Circus shared a timeless message: “Your Smile Is Beautiful.” Happy New Year from Coney Island!

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Related posts on ATZ…

December 28, 2012: Amusing the Zillion’s Top 10 Coney Island Videos of 2012

December 1 2012: Dec 2: Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s First Swim of Season

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

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Wrap at Tom's Restaurant

Grilled Chicken with Greek Salad: Our Fave Wrap at Tom’s, Coney Island Boardwalk. Photo © Tricia Vita

Tom’s Restaurant on the Coney Island Boardwalk miraculously escaped damage from Sandy and has been a popular meeting place for relief efforts. On December 24th from 8am till 5pm, the eatery is having a Christmas Eve “Eat, Drink, Help!” Party to benefit Coney Recovers. All proceeds from the day’s sales will be donated to ongoing relief efforts in the neighborhood. “The more you eat, the more you help!,” says the invite.

ATZ’s fave item on the lunch menu is this Grilled Chicken with Greek Salad Wrap. Also on the menu are Crab Cakes, Hamburgers, Veggie Burgers and a variety of sandwiches. Tom’s famous pancakes and other items on the breakfast menu are served all day. The Veggie Egg White Omelette and Mango Walnut Pancakes, which friends have ordered, are on our must-try list. All pancakes are served with maple syrup and homemade flavored butters.

This Coney Island outpost of the beloved Tom’s of Prospect Heights opened in September. Tom’s Coney Island is currently open daily from 8am till 5pm including Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Closed on Christmas Day.

Tom’s Coney Island, 1229 Boardwalk (at Stillwell Avenue), Brooklyn, NY 11224. Phone 718-942-4200

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Gargiulo's Restaurant

Gargiulo’s Restaurant Will Host the Alliance for Coney Island’s Winter Celebration on December 13. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

On December 13, Coney Island’s newest nonprofit, the Alliance for Coney Island, is having its first fundraiser at the recently reopened Gargiulo’s Restaurant. Coney Island’s Winter Celebration will benefit Coney Recovers, an initiative launched in the days after Hurricane Sandy to organize volunteers and relief efforts. Tickets for Thursday’s benefit, which includes entertainment, cocktails and dinner are $100 via advance purchase and $120 at the door.

The Alliance’s board consists of owners of businesses in the amusement area including Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, the Brooklyn Cyclones, Nathan’s and Gargiulo’s, as well as the nonprofit New York Aquarium and Astella Development. Although the members of the Alliance suffered storm damage and most remain closed while they recover and rebuild, the priority of the new organization has been to aid neighborhood residents and businesses.

Astella Development

After Sandy: Astella Development on Mermaid Avenue, Coney Island. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Coney Recovers, which is a coalition of Astella Development Corporation, the Alliance for Coney Island, Coney Island Hospital, and the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island, recently received a $100,000 grant from the Brooklyn Foundation and $25,000 from Robin Hood’s relief fund. Their plan is to set up an office to organize rebuilding and immediate needs, create the “Coney Corps” to provide job opportunities and skills training for local residents to help in the rebuilding, and develop a long-term recovery plan for the community. The Alliance is a successor to the Coney Island Development Corporation and will take over the CIDC’s tourism marketing efforts for Coney Island.

Kiddie Whip Car

Amanda Deutch Cleaning Kiddie Whip Car at History Project After Hurricane Sandy. November 1, 2012. Photo © Charles Denson via Coney Island History Project.

Coney Island’s three nonprofit attractions–the New York Aquarium, Coney Island USA and the Coney Island History Project, were extensively damaged by flooding from Hurricane Sandy and have asked for donations via their websites. Their fundraising efforts have been decidedly low-key since many of their own personnel were flooded out of their homes and the focus of relief efforts has been residents without heat, electricity or basic services. If these nonprofits are to reopen as planned in the spring or summer, they will need to drum up more funds from supporters to recover and rebuild.

Coney Island USA

Patrick Wall Continues Clean-Up at Coney Island USA Sideshows by the Seashore. December 5, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

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Sandy Cleanup Volunteers

Hurricane Sandy Cleanup Volunteers from the Barman’s Fund, Coney Island Boardwalk. November 11, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Among the last Hurricane Sandy volunteers to leave the Boardwalk on a recent Sunday evening was this bartender and her customers. They were from the Barman’s Fund, a group of bartenders who pool their tips to donate to charitable causes. This group told me they used the tips to buy the shovels and spent the day shoveling sand from the Coney Island Boardwalk. They were among the over 3,000 volunteers who participated in volunteer weekends organized by the Alliance for Coney Island’s Coney Recovers initiative. Cheers!

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