It was 46 degrees in the waters off Coney Island Sunday when some two thousand brave people dashed into the surf for a good cause.
Among them, Bree Benz of New York City, taking part in her first-ever Polar Bear Plunge. Benz is transgender, and was one of the few who stripped down to their swimsuits, while others ran into the water fully-clothed.
After the dip, Benz posted pictures of her chilly experience on Facebook, revealing she wasn’t the only trans woman on the beach Sunday.
“Nothing like a dip in ocean to start the new year off! Another first for me though the sponsors stated this was the 114th annual New Year’s Day Plunge. The ever so lovely but a little hungover Monica Prata was there for moral support and to take the professional grade post swim portrait pictures. We then enjoyed a delicious brunch at the Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook which will be a new favorite when the weather gets warmer. The Coney Island boardwalk and amusement park seems both a little tacky and yet charming from an iconic historical perspective so it made a perfect backdrop for this chilly but fun beach day. Best wishes to everyone for a happy new year!”
Besides the so-called health benefits of the annual plunge, the event raises money for Camp Sunshine, a summer program for children and young adults with multiple disabilities.
Watch a video from the Staten Island Advance of all the fun.