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NEW YORK – The Queens Polar Bear Club hit the East River this morning for its annual New Year’s dip.

The Queens Polar Bear Club held their annual New Year’s swim and a record number of ice-water-loving New Yorkers took the plunge.  It started last night with a “dip-and-a-soak” at 4 a.m. and then the full Lunatic Swim got underway at 8 a.m.

The Queens Polar Bear Club once again jumped into the frigid East River.  And it looked quite inviting this morning:

The  swim was open to all hearty souls living in Queens who wanted to start 2011 right.

The NYC Parks Department provided changing facilities on Long Island City and the pre-party took place at LIC Bar. The after-party is underway in Lou Grimaldi’s basement and it’s a wild one – lots of  “guidos in speedos.”   Don’t just head over there though, because you can’t get in “unless you know somebody, you know what I mean?”  Grimaldi said.  However, if you have frostbite and/or icicles on your nipples,  “we’ll make an exception.”

The Queens Polar Bear Club is led by Elio Emiliani, a real estate sub-mogul who owns three studio condos on Jackson Avenue and several cemeteries in upstate New York.   Magdalena Estanada, who is the head of the Polar Bear Blanket Committee, also owns several properties upstate – some of the best meth labs in the country.

Here’s Elio and Magdalena with two friends at 4 a.m. this morning in the East River:

Long time Queens residents and former Olympic gold-medal swimmers, Jane Ulf and Elisabeth Vincent, (along with five Russian KGB agents)  led the stout group of three hundred Polar Bears into the East River.

This year only seventy-five people had to be taken to the Queensbridge Medical Center.  Not for hypothermia or frostbite, but because toxic waste was inhaled by swimmers or seeped into their skins.

Mayor Bloomberg was pleased that only 25% of the Polar Bears were hospitalized this year.  “This is even more proof that our efforts to clean up the East River are working.”

The East River is open all day for more intrepid Queens Polar Bears.   So what are you waiting for?  Get out there and jump in the East River!