The polar bear rush is on to Coney Island in New York (AP Photo from last year)

The brave — or not so brave — souls whose idea of fun is a dip in the icy Atlantic on the first day of the New Year hit the water today for the annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim in a race to Coney Island in New York.

Those who engage in the practice claim it is healthy. Others aren’t so sure.

“”I don’t know of any definitive medical studies that have been done to measure the health benefits of cold-water swimming,” Dr. Alan Steinman, an expert on hypothermia, told MSNBC.

A lot of people who aren’t experts could have told you that.

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Doug Thompson published his first story and photo at age 11 -- a newspaper article about racism and the Klan in Prince Edward County, VA, in 1958. From that point on, he decided to become a newspaperman and did just that -- reporting news and taking photos full-time at his hometown paper, becoming the youngest full-time reporter at The Roanoke Times in Virginia in 1965 and spent most of the past 55+ years covering news around the country and the globe. After a short sabbatical as a political operative in Washington in the 1980s, he returned to the news profession in 1992. Today, he is a contract reporter/photojournalist for BHMedia and owns Capitol Hill Blue and other news websites.


  1. I took my car in for service on Thursday and hit a snow storm coming home. This is in the NW area of Phoenix and was the first time I drove in it! I’m damn glad I’m moving to Palm Spring in the end of January. Swim in this icy crap? Absolurely not! I will never drive in it again. This morning my entire front yard is covered in white stuff known as I C E….. Global Warming my arse!!!


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