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Vintage photos of the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge

View the best photos of this icy plunge that's a New Year’s Day tradition

 (Photograph: Courtesy Library of Congress)
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Photograph: Courtesy Library of Congress
1910, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Courtesy Library of Congress)
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Photograph: Courtesy Library of Congress
1910, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Courtesy Thomas G. McGann archive)
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Photograph: Courtesy Thomas G. McGann archive
1934, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library/Brooklyn Collection)
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Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library/Brooklyn Collection
1941, Dale Roberts, the first female member of the Polar Bear Club, being intiated with a face wash of snow.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library/Brooklyn Collection)
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Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library/Brooklyn Collection
1973, Polar Bears exercising before their swim.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library/Brooklyn Collection)
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Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library/Brooklyn Collection
1974, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library/Brooklyn Collection)
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Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library/Brooklyn Collection
1974, Polar Bear Club members exercising in the snow before their swim.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library/Brooklyn Collection)
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Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library/Brooklyn Collection
1977, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library/Brooklyn Collection)
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Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Public Library/Brooklyn Collection
1978, Polar Bear Club members exercising in the snow before their swim.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Thomas G. McGann archive)
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Photograph: Courtesy Thomas G. McGann archive
1990, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Courtesy Thomas G. McGann archive)
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Photograph: Courtesy Thomas G. McGann archive
1991, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Lester Ali/REX USA)
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Photograph: Lester Ali/REX USA
2009, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Lester Ali/REX USA)
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Photograph: Lester Ali/REX USA
2009, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Jessica Lehreman)
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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Jessica Lehreman
2011, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/thegirlsny)
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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/thegirlsny
2012, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Jena Cumbo)
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Photograph: Jena Cumbo
2013, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Jena Cumbo)
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Photograph: Jena Cumbo
2013, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Jena Cumbo)
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Photograph: Jena Cumbo
2013, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/EricFoo)
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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/EricFoo
2014, Coney Island Polar Bear Club
 (Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/)
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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/
2014, Coney Island Polar Bear Club

Every New Year's day brave souls gather on the shore of Coney Island Beach for the Coney Island Polar Bear Club's New Year's Day Swim, a tradition that's been going strong since 1903. Participants shake off their New Year’s Eve hangovers by plunging into the freezing waves. Spectators are in store for just as much fun, since many New Yorkers participating in the frosty dip arrive dressed in costume. The silliness is all for a good cause as the event raises funds for Camp Sunshine, a nonprofit that supports children with life-threatening illnesses. Click through our slideshow to see participants through the decades.

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