The Polar Bears of Coney Island

The members of the Polar Bears, a club that has been in existence for over 100 years, swim in the icy waters of Coney Island every New Year's Eve and every Sunday afternoon through April, no matter what the weather. After April, the weather and water temperature are both too warm to suit them. Some of the members have parents who were part of the club; another remembers his father taking him to the swim and having the members babysit him. Another told me that he had had arthritic pain and used a walker, but after joining the Polar Bears, he has been pain free and threw his walker away.