Polar Bear Club

I think you have to be a little bit crazy to do this. Yeah, we're all crazy. Got too many people go into the water in the middle of the winter. You might take the classic line. You don't have to be crazy, but it helps. I used to come out to Coney Island in the late '70s, when this place was really very desolate, eerie, falling apart. I was out here once in the winter and saw these old guys standing on the beach and bathing suits. They were lifting rocks and they go running into the water. And I just stood and said, that's really crazy. I want to do that First time I saw it was when I was a kid in the newspapers. I never knew that there was a club. I just thought they did it on New Year's Day, once a year, we do a public swim on New Year's Day and it's become like a huge New Year's tradition. I always come into the Polar Club every Sunday. It's like my church. The Coney Island Bulbar Club has been out here Coney Island, since 1903. We have a fairly standard ritual walk down to the beach. We form a big circle and then it's into the water. After that, it's free swim. People bring fall, keeps the limbs moving and all kids want out there you go, in that water and you feel like you're 15 years old. Again, I'm going to be 70 years. I can run, I can jump, I can do anything I want, nothing. I feel like a young guy. It's intoxicating. I go in colds and I come out warm. It gives you a great perspective on everything you're like went swimming in January and Coney Island.

I could get through this. I get depressed in the winter sometimes or when it's cold, it's like I just want to stay home. And this really takes you out of your element. It's the same wonderful feeling you get after a great workout. But the bears get it in like two or 3 min the bears cheap. We have really a great spirited group of people here and there are people that wouldn't really run across each other in day to day life in New York. We have people from all different worlds. We have doctors, social worker, I used to be elevator vegans, hipsters, and top secret. I do small nonprofit. I'd have to drown here. I'm a kindergarten teacher. What brings us together is the love for the ocean. We do crazy things every day, living in New York. Once you get in the water, you can't think about anything else. And it's not about jobs or careers. It's not about money, not about paying rent, not about relationships, not about family. Sometimes I think it's the only sane thing that I do can take from the park bench, the park in that water, all the self through the polar bear.

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