A year ago, the annual New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge in Coney Island was called off due to fears about mass gatherings amid a winter surge in the pandemic. But for those of you out there who look forward to immersing your body in freezing temperatures to ring in the new year, you're in luck, because the beloved event is back on for New Year's Day 2022.
“After so many months of stress, hardship, and uncertainty, the Coney Island Polar Bear Club invites all New Yorkers to join us in our New Year’s Day Plunge, purge the past, and establish an optimistic outlook for the new year," said Dennis Thomas, president of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. "There is no better way to separate the past from the future than a brisk plunge in the frigid Atlantic with fellow New Yorkers. We look forward to hosting the largest, most spirited plunge in our 119-year history."
The event starts at 1 p.m. on January 1st. You can register to take part in it here; there's no fee to participate, but organizers encourage everyone to donate.
The 119th Annual Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Plunge isn't just about the frigid plunge—it also always turns into an all-day boardwalk party with DJs and hundreds of non-participating onlookers—this is largely why the event was canceled last year.
And the main reason for the tradition, other than giving people a chance to cleanse themselves to start the year, is to raise charity for local community nonprofits like the New York Aquarium, the Coney Island History Project, Coney Island USA, Coney Island YMCA, and more. Whether you're participating in the plunge, dancing on the boardwalk, or just cheering from the comfort of your apartment, the organization says you can donate virtually here.
It's been a while now, so if you have forgotten what this even looks like, take a look back at 2020's plunge.