Polar Bears start freezin’ for the season

The Coney Island Polar Bears took their annual plunge for charity on a warm and rainy New Year’s Day.

The event, which is in its 119th year, was held virtually last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Precautions were taken this time as well. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., one large area of the beach was open and lifeguards were present. Swimmers also followed social distancing guidelines.

“We were ecstatic to partner with the Coney Island Polar Bear Club to bring back this tradition after a year hiatus due to the pandemic,” said Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of the Alliance for Coney Island. “Saturday’s festivities proved that the spirit of Coney Island is alive and well!”

“Thank you to all who came yesterday to celebrate and a big thanks to our volunteers,” the club said on Twitter.

The swim wasn’t without incident. A man had a heart attack in the water at 11:30 a.m. and was taken to the hospital. His condition is unknown.

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