Images from Today’s Polar Bear Club Swim at Coney Island

Happy New Year.

4 thoughts on “Images from Today’s Polar Bear Club Swim at Coney Island

  1. Kitty Canuck

    Did you take the Polar Bear dip? They do Polar Bear dips up in the UP, as you probably know, and also further north on the furthest parts of the north shore of Lake Superior. Wonder where the water is coldest?

    Tell your blog fans what we all want to know: did you take a Polar Bear dip?

    And what do you think of this human ritual?


    1. lvgaldieri Post author

      I did not take the Polar Bear dip. My feet got wet inadvertently as I followed the crowd to the water’s edge with my camera: that’s the closest I came. Maybe next year or maybe, someday, in the UP: Lake Superior in January would take real commitment. What do I think of it? I wanted the few images I shared here to speak for themselves, without commentary. But I like your use of the word “ritual,” as it calls attention to the fact that it’s more than a zany celebration: it’s a baptism — a beginning.


  2. Kitty Canuck

    BTW, I have been meaning to share this: I greatly admire the way you seem to have fallen in love with the challenges to the UP, the earth and even MN where they are going to allow mining that will require 500 years water remediation but the state officials allowed it?!! — 500 years is mindboggling and meaningless. You certainly aren’t guilty of only caring about your own backyard. You seem to me like a man with a very big heart and spirit.

    If you visit MN ever again, and I noted that you were near the Baptism River, consider staying in the Baptism River B&B. It’s a great B&B and it has a hot tub and a Swedish sauna. It’s near Lake Superior and some of the most beautiful sites ever, like Gooseberry Falls. I don’t think anything is more beautiful than a frozen cascade of Gooseberry Falls, frozen mid-cascade as it tries to pour into the Great Lake. Real Minnesota.

    Also, call whoever is running the Walker Art Center’s film curating. The Walker has one of the best film programs anywhere in the world. They don’t call themselves an art museum intentionally — it is an art center, to encompass everything. They have one of the best film curation programs in the world. Call and ask them to show your movie. Most folks who live in the Twin Cities have either lived up in the Iron Range or had people they love live up there.

    Senator Wellstone died in a suspicious plane crash in the Iron Range. The Iron Range is part of the awareness of all Minnesotans and Minnesota is a very sophisticated place.

    Also, submit your movie into local film festivals in MN and Milwaukee and Ann Arbor and anywhere in MN, WI and MI. Most humans in those states are well aware, usually painfully aware because a relative died from mining, would be interested in your film.

    Also, do you know how easy it is to get interviewed in local community radio? Not many people realize that someone with a little talk show on public or community radio (the two are different but in the Upper Midwest, there is usually at least one community radio station in addition to the public radio one . . and many colleges and universities have radio stations — my tiny WI college had a radio station) . . . they are all starving for content and will interview just about anyone who calls and says “I made a movie about the Woody Guthrie song about a UP tragedy” and they will scoop you up. And then be sure eto ask them to suggest other programs that might be interested. Then schedule these interviews right before your film is screened, eh? the first time I called a woman with a weekly talk show on community radio, I trembled but by the time I got off the phone, I realized I had discovered magic: no one doing a free community radio gig has any staff to recruit interesting subjects to have on the show and fewer and fewer writers and musicians have publicists trying to score such interviews. I imagine you could also get on local tv talk shows — the very very local. I’d offer to volunteer to market your film a bit for you but I wish to remain anonymous. KittyCanuck is what I consider a very obvious pseudonymn. It is supposed to signal my deep familiarity with the Upper Midwest, the Boundary Waters and the parts of Canada right near MN and the UP.

    Have you ever driven from NY to the UP? If so do you know it is shorter to drive across Canada to get to the UP than to dip down below the Great lakes?

    I don’t know you. I am sure we will never meet. But I love your film and I esp. love the love and caring you show for places in the world that I don’t think you have any direct ties. Aren’t you from New York City? Or are you from the Upper Midwest on the down low?!!! lol. I am from MN but I only learned about the 500 years water remediation nightmare from your blog. What’s wrong with that picture? I asked a friend — who just happens to work at the Baptism River B&B when the owners travel — if they knew about the 500 years water thing and this friend said “Everyone knows it’s an environmental disaster but ever since the Iron Range kinda died, jobs are so scarce. People need jobs so they are accepting the environmental disaster. 500 years water remediation! That is meaningless and yet people paid to reprsent the public good agreed to it.

    Instead of selling off the earth in MN and accepting that it will take 500 years to remedy the damage done to the water table – and what will humans up on the range drink in the meantime — did you read that we are selling water from the Great Lakes to China these days? For real. So what will folks drink in MN mining country after the new mining ruins the water? 500 years is an incomprehensible number. Imagine someone in the year 1514 agreeing to a project that would have affected millions of humans in the past 100 years? and who is going to hold this company to account for 500 years? Can you identify one ‘legal’ commitment that has been respected and honored for 100 years, much less 500? and since corporations aren’t people but with the rights of people, what’s to stop that mining coming from destroying the environment in MN, which is, all things considered, relatively pristine compared to most of the country — the Boundary Waters is one of the last natural “wild” places left on the planet — what’s to stop that mining company from extracting whatever wealth they want, distribute that wealth to their shareholders and then walk away by declaring bankruptcy? Gee, did the state employees who agreed to 500 years of water remediation (the phrase horrifies me and I can’t stop repeating it as I try to shake the ugliness behind such a phrase) require the company buy insurance or bonds or something to guarantee there would be funding? Talk about short term profit while disregarding long term consequences. Did they ever hear of the Precautionary Principle? 500 years water remediation? How could that be acceptable to any sentient, thinking being?

    Get a list of all colleges/universitiesi in MN, WI and MI. they all show films. Get your film out there.

    Do you know how well other corporate environmental damage has been held accountable to the corporations that did the damage?

    Ack. Edvard Munch’s scream paintings capture how I feel as 2014 kicks off.

    I tend to run on. Sorry.


    1. Michele Bourdieu

      Dear Kitty, thanks for your concerns about the mining in the Midwest. Louis, glad you didn’t jump in! Last year our Heikinpaiva (Finnish midwinter festival) in January canceled the polar bear event. Not sure they will have it this year. I guess it’s a big responsibility for the owner of the motel who used to offer their hot tub for warming up afterwards. My husband used to take photos and videos of it for Keweenaw Now. Kitty, did you see my interview with Louis and Ken about their film: ? Yes, they are both very caring people and I felt privileged to meet them and interview them. Keep up your fight for the boundary waters! Lots of articles on Keweenaw Now about the proposed mining here and in Wisconsin. I’m not able to cover the Minnesota issues but am aware of them and would welcome a guest article if you have updated info on them. Happy New Year!



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