Decked in swimsuits, swim trunks, bikinis and costumes, about a thousand folks joined the Coney Island Polar Bear Swim Club for its annual New Year's Day swim in the Atlantic Ocean. The group's president told the Daily News it was their biggest turnout ever, thanks to a water temperature of 44 degrees.

One participant proclaimed, "The cold water definitely cures a hangover. This event brings out all the nut cases in the city to come together and strip down. Where else can you wear a bikini, a Russian fur hat and a leopard print bathrobe and run into freezing water with a screaming crowd? I love it."

The group raises money for Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses; yesterday's event raised $25,000.