Generally Speaking: Local ‘Polar Bears’ do the New Year’s Arctic plunge

Over 2,500 hale and hardy swimmers challenged the elements and plunged into the frigid waters at Coney Island for the annual New Year’s Day ritual which is sponsored by the Coney Island Polar Bear Club.

Locally, three well known area residents who are veterans of the icy dip included Larry Stelter, a longtime member of the Polar Bears, who is a member of Community Board 10, an author and past first vice president of the Bay Ridge Historical Society; Tom McCarthy, the current president of the BRHS, a bank executive and who recently ran his 16th New York City Marathon; and prominent attorney Arthur Aidala, the past president of the Brooklyn Bar Association, a former Kings County assistant district attorney, and a frequent commentator on radio and TV. Aidala has been holding fundraisers for a possible political campaign, but has not yet announced what position he is interested in running for, though some people have speculated that he is interested in being Brooklyn district attorney or New York State attorney general.

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A sidebar to the Merchants of Third Avenue Association. Many thanks for selecting this writer as one of your 2017 Civic Award recipients at the 23rd annual cocktail reception which was held this past Monday evening (1/9) at the Bay Ridge Manor. This writer also would like to thank the key members of the Pioneer Committee which include Founder Chuck OteyLori Pedone and Marc Hibsher.

Current association leaders and officers include President Bob Howe, First Vice President Jay Sessa, Second Vice President Wade Jabour, Secretary Lloyd Berg, Co-treasurers Brian Chin and Victor Taliaferro, Corresponding Secretary Rhea McCone and Recording Secretary Leigh Holliday.

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Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, 59, the wheelchair-bound police officer who died on Tuesday, January 10, after suffering a major heart attack on Friday, January 6 at his home on Long Island.

McDonald, who was shot three times in Central Park by a teenager back in 1986, was here in Bay Ridge last November to address the students at St. Patrick Catholic Academy regarding safety, bullying, forgiveness, peace and respect for parents and one another.

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Reminder, during snowfalls, the city’s Sanitation Department is now also required to keep crosswalks and corner sidewalk crossings clear of ice and snow. The property owner close to a fire plug is responsible for shoveling it clear. If you spot a violation, call 311.

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Since the ball at Times Square has dropped and the Parachute Jump (Brooklyn’s “Eiffel Tower”) has lit up 2017, we would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone far and near a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

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