Hundreds of hardy swimmers rang in 2013 with a plunge into the icy sea off Brooklyn's Coney Island, an area struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy.
Members of the Coney Island Polar Bear, the largest such club; the Ice Breakers Club, based a stone’s throw away at Brighton Beach; and other brave bathers stripped down to their trunks or dressed in costumes for the annual New Year's Day splash.
Some people hit the surf dressed only in bikinis or briefs. One woman dressed as a mermaid. Another swimmer wore a hat with horns. Temperatures outside were in the 30s, and people screamed at the shock of the cold water.
This year, Polar Bear Club members and others were raising money for Sandy relief efforts as well as for Camp Sunshine, an organization that provides support for children with life-threatening illnesses. The Ice Breakers, who were founded by the late Rabbi Abraham Abraham, tried to raise awareness of water pollution.