The fun place to be on New Year’s Day is Coney Island and the best way to welcome 2024 is with a dip in the Atlantic! Join the Coney Island Polar Bear Club for their 121st Annual New Year’s Day Plunge on January 1st from 11 AM until 2 PM. The party starts on the Boardwalk at 10 AM.
In an oral history recorded by the Coney Island History Project, Polar Bear Club president Dennis Thomas recalls the New Year's Day Plunge over the decades: "It's been going on as long as anybody knows and it used to be just kind of an informal gathering of the Polar Bear Club itself. Then more people from the public," says Thomas, who began swimming with the Bears in the 1970s. "When I first started, if there were a hundred people there, we'd say, wow, this was huge. It's a bucket list thing. People want to do it once in their life and New Year's Day is a great day to do that."
Around 4,000 people participated in the 2023 Plunge. There is no fee to participate but all funds raised help support local non-profits offering environmental, educational, and cultural programming including the Alliance for Coney Island, Coney Island History Project, Coney Island USA, Coney Island YMCA, New York Aquarium and more.
Please visit the event website to register in advance for the Coney Island New Year's Day Polar Plunge or make a donation.
Photo Credit: Jim McDonnell