Not for the faint of heart, the Polar Bear Plunge sees hordes of eager swimmers dive into Coney Island's waters, for fun, sport, health benefits.
On New Year's Day, while most of us were nursing hangovers, laying low, or thinking about the year ahead, photojournalist Mo Gelber was charging the icy Atlantic Ocean with nearly a thousand other New Yorkers, in the annual ritual known as the Polar Bear Plunge. Not for the faint of heart, this tradition sees hordes of eager swimmers dive into the waters at Coney Island, for fun, sport, and health benefits. Many don costumes, some go in their clothes, and the brave go in with only a swimsuit.
Taking place just 64 days after Hurricane Sandy, the Polar Bear Club encouraged the crowd to donate to the Coney Island Recovers fund, as well as their ongoing partner, Camp Sunshine, which supports children who facing life-threatening illness and their families. In the wake of the storm, it's also great to see this seaside community come together as captured by Gelber in the images below:
Photos courtesy of Mo Gelber