Old cold bathers
For many, winter is the time you head indoors but for New York’s Polar Bear Club it’s time to take a dip at Coney Island. Laredo Montoneri was there to capture it.
Every Sunday, from November to April, the Polar Bear Club come together and swim in the icy Atlantic ocean. And they have been doing so since it was founded in 1903 by Bernarr McFadden.
McFadden, whose now considered the “Father of Physical Culture” believed a cold dip in the ocean could boost an individual’s stamina, virility and immunity. Although considered by many as a “charlatan” in his time, his club has lived on with many of his legacies and today it’s the oldest winter bathing organisation in the world.
Since 2007 the “bears” have organised an annual New Years Day swim called “Freezing for a Reason” which raises money for the charity, Camp Sunshine. Thousands of people join the “bears” in their freezing swim and to date they have raised over $75,000.
These pictures capture the challenge, the freedom, the comradery, the “shivers” of life spread through their bodies, shaking them.