With sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-50s, an enormous crowd descended upon Coney Island on Tuesday afternoon and gleefully plunged into the Atlantic Ocean to kick off the new year. The 115th Annual Coney Island New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge was a grand celebration, as always, but also a personal psychic cleansing for many. And because it really was as lovely a day at the beach as you could possibly hope for during a New York City winter, many went back in for repeat psychic cleansing.
And yes, that's Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams you'll see in our photos, who led the huge initial wave of plungers at 1 p.m. sharp. Thousands of spectators and photographers clogged the shoreline, as officials begged people to get out the water to make room for the next wave.
Once people hit the water, unusually high waves allowed for some body surfing and lots of shrieking. A volleyball game broke out. Even dogs were diving in. And the excellent women of Fogo Azul brought their irresistible samba rhythms to soundtrack the scene. As usual, New Year's accessories and random costumes added to the festive feeling.
The event is free for all—and, of course, plenty of people ignored the planned activities and just went swimming on either side of the chute whenever they felt like it—but plungers are always encouraged to make a donation when they register. This year all the money raised will be given to local non-profits, such as the New York Aquarium, Coney Island USA, Coney Island History Project, and the Alliance for Coney Island.