New York Adventures: Joining the polar bears

2012 in New York started out on a good note. Or rather it started out on a very high pitched scream.

new york polar bearsMy voice roared as the cold water hit my ankles. I stopped screaming as my toes started to go numb and I lost all feeling in my arse. In mute admiration I watched Jeremy dive under the water for the third time. We had decided to kick, or rather swim, off 2012 with the Coney Island NY Polar Bears. Hangovers and sanity forgotten, hundreds of us had decided to storm the shockingly cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Polar Bear Club founderAccording to the impressively named Polar Bear Club founder, Bernarr Macfadden, a winter dip in the ocean could improve one’s stamina, virility and immunity. The club had been going strong since 1903 and, if I was to believe Bernarr, a quick dip would be a virtual all-in-one new year’s resolution.

I was keen. The weather was on our side, new year’s day was a balmy 55 degrees. We planned to go with friends, bundled up with enough warm clothes to keep us cosy after our dip and were given the incentive of a post swim cup of hot spiked cider. Jeremy and I ran into the water holding hands like kamikaze storming troops.

I would like to say that I emerged in a state of frozen nirvana from under the water. I’d like to tell you that I stayed with our friends and bantered calmly treading water for 10 minutes in the ocean. Sadly none of that is true. I’m much more of a wimp that I would like you to believe. However it is true that I ran out of the water on a high that lasted well beyond the joy of wrapping myself in my towel.

In fact I felt so good for so long afterwards that I’m tempted to give a dip in the icy water another try on a less crowded occasion. Maybe I’ll even get my head under next time. Anyone mad enough to join me is very welcome.

4 thoughts on “New York Adventures: Joining the polar bears

  1. I too started the 2012 with a dip in the Atlantic! We were down in Cornwall with the family. I entered the water in a similar kamikaze style and managed to last but a few brief moments before shivering my way to the shore. An excellent way to start the new year and now even better as I know a very good friend of mine shared the same icy bath!

  2. Wow! Very brave! I might have the guts to do that some day. As close as I got to doing something totally out of my comfort zone this holiday season was running in a 5K race called appropriately “The Last Run.” It was held on Saturday Dec 17, at 5pm. It was the first time I had pushed myself to run a race at night in the dark. But half of the run was to be through the major park in our area, which was all lit up with the annual “Holiday Lights in the Park.” I did it – it was hard, but I did it. It was also only about 20 degrees as well! That was the toughest part.
    Great piece of writing! Happy New Year to you both!

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