Shepherding the Coney Island Polar Bear Club - NYTimes.com
By LIZ ROBBINS JAN. 17, 2014
"After three decades, Dennis Thomas’s winter Sundays are no longer shocking. They are just cold. From November to April, Mr. Thomas, 59, charges into the Atlantic Ocean, along with other members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club; he has been the group’s president for five years. This year, the club’s premier event on New Year’s Day drew 2,000 swimmers and 6,000 spectators and raised $65,000 for children with serious illnesses. On any given Sunday, 80 to 100 members show up at the New York Aquarium for the frosty frolic — neoprene bootees allowed. The lowest water temperature recorded for a swim was 32 degrees one February. Mr. Thomas, the director of global branding for the technology company SAP, lives alone in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He suspects that his 25-year-old daughter thinks he is crazy."