NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was an icy start to 2017 for thousands of people who jumped into the ocean for the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge.

The Coney Island Polar Bear Club met up on the boardwalk Sunday afternoon for their first dip in the Atlantic in the new year.

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“I think we had between 2,500 and 3,000 swimmers in the water this year and close to 10,000 spectators on the beach,” Club President Dennis Thomas told 1010 WINS.

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Thomas called the event “a New York tradition.”

“It’s a great way to bring in the new year and leave the past behind,” he said.

The Coney Island club is the oldest winter bathing organization in the U.S. and proceeds from the annual plunge go to Camp Sunshine, which helps kids with life-threatening illnesses.

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And they don’t just do it on New Year’s Day either. The club swims every Sunday from November through April.