The Coney Island Polar Bears club held its annual New Year's Day swim Tuesday.
An estimated 2,000 swimmers dove head first into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
"Oh my god, it was great. It was freezing. The water got up to my knees and that was about it," said a swimmer.
Every year, the Polar Bears Club raises money for Camp Sunshine, an organization that provides outdoor adventures for children with life-threatening diseases.
"We pay for the children and their family to have a vacation at Camp Sunshine," said Robert Croce, the vice president of the Coney Island Polar Bears.
Volunteers from Coney Recovers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping preserve and enhance the Coney Island community, also held an information booth out at the event. With Hurricane Sandy fresh in people's minds, the group wanted to make sure residents are getting the help they need.
"We've been doing information sessions for businesses, for homeowners," said Elijah Richardson of
"We wanted to donate to Camp Sunshine, show our support after Sandy and everything. It's really nice to be back on the beach," said Jasmine Jolley, who was affected by Sandy.
A Staten Island victim of Sandy told NY1, "We evacuated. We were lucky and a lot of our neighbors are not. Houses destroyed, a lot of people probably won't even return."
The swim is a tradition that goes back 110 years.