Man Injured at Annual Polar Bear Swim at Coney Island

Hundreds of New Yorkers bravely splashed into frigid ocean waters to start the new year Monday, including one man who ended up in a hospital.

Louie Scarcella, spokesman for the Coney Island Polar Bears, said the one man who was taken to Coney Island Hospital was not an official member of the club, but merely one of the 200 or so people who joined the 80 club members to take the annual plunge into the 48-degree Atlantic Ocean waters.

The annual swim — or dip, belly flop or slow submersion, depending upon the person — raised $25,000 for Camp Sunshine, a year-round retreat providing relief to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. The club had hoped to raise more than $50,000, although its take was well in excess of the $6,000 or so raised last year, Scarcella noted.

The turnout was less than the 500 people who swam last year. Scarcella blamed the rain.

"It's psychological, I think," he said. "Some people don't like the rain."

Scarcella did not know how the one swimmer was injured. A hospital spokeswoman would not release his condition.