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Point of View: It’s Worth It, Believe Me

Wed, 01/10/2024 - 16:55

My new year’s resolution last year was finally to go through some files I’d titled “Things Worth Reading” and “More Things Worth Reading” rather than dip in the ocean, as many others more daring than I did that day. (Still haven’t followed through on that resolution, though. Maybe in 2024.)

I went in up to my ankles at the Main Beach plunge once and that was enough. I don’t even go in in the summer, titanium knees being my excuse. But that’s not to say the New Year’s plunges here are nugatory. Far from it. Even though you might not be of a mind to plunge, your perhaps shaken faith in humankind will most likely be restored, or at least in part resurrected, should you mingle on New Year’s Day with the crowds at East Hampton Village’s Main Beach and, somewhat later in the afternoon, at Beach Lane in Wainscott. The bonhomie is infectious.

The plunges’ progenitors, Colin Mather and the Ryans, John Sr. and Jr., exemplify for me, and I’m sure for many others, the unflagging human spirit that can see us through tough times if we would summon it up. Otherwise, I think, we’re just “hanging in there.”

And in their cases, it’s a spirit that extends beyond their own well-being. You needed only to have gone down to the above-named beaches on the first day of 2024 to be assured of that. The plunges, which drew record turnouts and, presumably, produced record proceeds for the East Hampton Food Pantry and the Sag Harbor Food Pantry, were communal convocations as reassuring as any you’d find at a church or at any other gathering.

The rather dreary empty roads that day wouldn’t have led you to think there were such fraternal goings-on. Each year these events get bigger and bigger. It’s at a point now at Main Beach where Johnny Ryan, with urgency in his voice, is saying that if you don’t arrive early, you’ll be late.

Still, even if you have to walk all the way from Town Pond, it’s worth it, believe me.     


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