The Coney Island Polar Bear Club was founded in 1903 by Bernarr McFadden, a man then known as the "Father of Physical Culture." His belief that an ocean swim during the winter can strengthen one's endurance and immunity was the inspiration for the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. Over one hundred years later, members of the club still meet between October and April for dips into the Atlantic. Every January 1st, all of New York City is invited to join them in bringing in the New Year with an icy splash.
Credits: From the documentary, "Gotham Fish Tales" directed by Rob Mass and sponsored by City Lore, 2003. (1:13)