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WATCH: Swimmers Jump Into 44-Degree Ocean for Rockaway Polar Dip

By Katie Honan | January 2, 2015 9:53am
WATCH: Swimmers Jump Into 44-Degree Ocean for Rockaway Polar Dip
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Katie Honan/Ryan O'Donnell/Bob Fash

ROCKAWAY BEACH — Dozens of swimmers braved freezing temperatures for the annual New Year's Day dip in the Atlantic Ocean.

Groups met at beaches across the Rockaway peninsula, including Beach 119th, Beach 127th and Beach 146th streets, to jump into the ocean, which was about 44 degrees according to the National Oceanicographic Data Center.

The air was 32 degrees, with wind chills that made it feel like 20 degrees, meteorologists said. 

Each block has its own celebration, from drum rolls to a small cannon that lets swimmers know it's time to jump in.

On Beach 119th Street, organizer Tommy Pulkoski, 59, has kept the tradition going for 16 years.

Last year he joked that the Rockaway swims are more authentic than the Polar Bear Club in Coney Island — where thousands also braved the frigid water for that borough's own dip Thursday.

"We're the real deal," he said. "We put our heads under."