That's exactly what members of the Ice Breakers swimming club did New Year's Day, wading into the winter waters at Coney Island to ring in the new decade. As it turned out, at 46 degrees Fahrenheit the Atlantic Ocean wasn't even that cold- at least not for the 20 or so seasoned swimmers who took the plunge.
Bob Stewart, the Ice Breakers' club scientist, said this year was barely a challenge compared to years past, when swimmers braved 20-degree waves and real icebergs to carry on the annual New Year's Day tradition.
“40 [plus] degrees is easy. Its like taking a cold shower,” said Stewart. “We're real ice people so we like it to get below 32 degrees so we can feel the coolness.”
Despite the warm water the swim went well. The event marked the start of the Ice Breakers' 175th season. The group- not to be confused with the larger Polar Bear Club, which holds its own annual New Year's Day swim at Coney Island- claims to be the oldest swimming club in the world.
The club, which raises awareness of local environmental issues, has members ranging in age from younger swimmers to its octogenarian leader, Rabbi Abraham Abraham.
“We're just a fun club. We get together and we swim,” said Stewart. With water temperatures like this year's, he added, the new year's day swim is very doable indeed. “It wasn't that bad of a swim,” he said.