Posts Tagged ‘fundraiser’

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!


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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New Year's Day Swim

Unwinding after a Busy Holiday...Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year's Day Swim 2011. Photo © Barry Yanowitz

On New Year’s Day 2011, when Santa should have been back at the North Pole after a busy Christmas, photographer Barry Yanowitz spotted him at the Coney Island Polar Bear Swim! The annual event is zany fun as well as a fundraiser for a very good cause. You can play Santa on New Year’s Day 2012 by pledging a donation to this year’s plunge or helping participants meet their fundraising goals. The funds make it possible for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to enjoy a holiday at Camp Sunshine in Maine.

“Last year we raised over $50,000 for Camp Sunshine, and hope to exceed that this year,” Coney Island Polar Bear Club President Dennis Thomas told ATZ. “Approximately 1,200 swimmers registered last year. People can make donations on site on New Year’s Day or pledge at Freezin’ for a Reason.” (If you’re reading this after New Year’s Day, it’s not too late to mail a check.)

There’s no fee for observers or participants at the increasingly popular annual event, but the Coney Island Polar Bear Club encourages participants to make a donation to Camp Sunshine. They will receive a free breakfast, all-day admission to the New York Aquarium and the official “I Did It!” certificate. Swim time is at 1 pm sharp. Registration begins at 11 am on the Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue. Before and After Party at Ruby’s Bar from 11am till 2:30pm!


Related posts on ATZ…

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

November 10, 2011: Video: First Plunge of Season for Coney Island Polar Bears

January 7, 2011: Photo of the Day: Greetings from Ruby’s Snow Mountain Resort!

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

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Save Coney Island Club of Agoura High School, Agoura Hills, California- 2009-2010. Photo © Boardwalklover via flickr

Save Coney Island Club of Agoura High School, Agoura Hills, California- 2009-2010. Photo © Boardwalklover via flickr

When we saw this adorable photo of the Save Coney Island Club of Agoura High School in Agoura Hills, California, it made us think– Wow, California really is ahead of the curve! We agree with the sentiments of the Brooklynite who found the photo on flickr and called it to our attention: “Maybe it’ll spawn Save Coney Island Clubs in New York City high schools!”

According to the photo caption “As of January 2010, we have raised apr. $130.00. It meets EVERY ODD FRIDAY in ROOM M5A at lunch! (periods 1-3-5).”

ATZ contacted the club’s founder, 15-year-old Taylor Stein, for more information. Taylor got the Save Coney Island T-shirt that he’s wearing in the photo when he visited Coney Island last summer with his Dad. The Stein family is originally from Brooklyn. Taylor returned to California more determined than ever to help save Coney Island’s shrinking outdoor amusement area from high rise development and to preserve its historic structures.

Taylor told us about the club’s activities: “We raised $130 by having a candy apple and fudge fundraiser, and also by getting donations and rewarding candy on a daily basis at school. Our club meets every other Friday at lunch and discusses key ways to raise money that will help cover the expenses of the Save Coney Island lawsuit against the city. We also watch historic Coney Island films while eating lunch, plus we talk about the history and current events happening in Coney Island. We hope to raise at least $400 by the end of the year.”

Mapquest’s total travel estimate from Coney Island to Agoura Hills is 43 hours 5 minutes or 2833.03 miles. We’re impressed by the California club’s long distance devotion to Coney Island. It’s proof that what Steeplechase Park creator George C. Tilyou wrote in 1886 is truer than ever: “If Paris is France, then Coney Island, between June to September, is the world.”


Related posts on ATZ...

December 20, 2009: Coney Island Photo of the Day: First Snow on the Cyclone

July 27, 2009: Save Coney Island for the Kids: “Everything I Love is Here”

July 27, 2009: Tall, Skinny & Destined to Kill Coney Island: High Rises on South Side of Surf

June 2, 2009: Coney Island is Alive and Kicking in 2009 Photo of the Day: Dusk on the Boardwalk

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