CONEY ISLAND — Soon, tradition will once again summon thousands of brave Brooklynites into the brisk waters of Coney Island on New Year’s Day.
At around 1 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2020, a new class of adventurous swimmers will convene on the Coney Island Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue to help welcome the New Year as part of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s annual holiday dip.
Founded in 1903, the Coney Island Polar Bear Club is the oldest winter bathing organization in the country. Its seasoned members enjoy swimming in the Atlantic Ocean every Sunday from November to April. But the New Year’s Day swim is open to anyone willing to brave oftentimes brutal temperatures in the name of tradition — and charity.DAILY TOP BROOKLYN NEWSNews for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond
While there is no fee for swimmers or observers, there is a small suggested donation to benefit local Coney Island organizations including the New York Aquarium, the Alliance for Coney Island, Coney Island USA, the Coney Island History Project, and other local arts and history projects.
Last year’s swim saw more than 4,000 people who raised over $60,000.
All participants are required to register in order to swim.
This year will be the 116th annual Polar Bear Plunge, a tradition that began back when the club was formed. Today, revelers come to Coney Island from all over the city, and beyond. Swimmers are encouraged to bring a change of warm clothes, surf boots or old sneakers, towels and, if they so wish, their most outrageous costumes.
Last year’s plunge was a particularly warm one, the temperature outside a balmy 59 degrees. On the other hand, 2018’s New Year’s Day swim was a frosty 37 degrees — its waters, an even icier 17 degrees.
This year’s weather will be more like 2018’s, according to a 30-day forecast for the borough.