Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Plunge into Hudson becomes a spray off

Debris at shoreline made getting in river unsafe
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  • A record number of participants signed up to get wet in the 40+ degree weather on New Year’s Day. (Photo by Chloe Trieff)

  • Members of the Cortlandt Community Rowing Association revel in the water spray. (Photo by Chloe Trieff)

  • Water from a Peekskill fire department truck turned the annual plunge into a spray. (Photo by Chloe Trieff)

  • The grainess of the photo is attributed to the rain from fire truck hose. (Photo by Chloe Trieff)

  • Caitlin Brady, co-founder of This Is Me Foundation, is grateful for support of participants. (Photo by Chloe Trieff)

  • The crowd was just as excited to get wet from a hose instead of plunging into the Hudson. (Photo by Chloe Trieff)

  • The haze from the fire hose that saturated Riverfront Green park. (Photo by Jeannette Sanderson)

  • Mild temperatures and a blue sky contributed to the festival atmosphere at this year’s 11th annual Polar Plunge. (Photo by Jeannette Sanderson)

  • Debris from the Hudson washed ashore after heavy rains two weeks ago. (Photo by Jim Striebich)

  • The sun sets over a debris strewn shoreline at Peekskill’s Riverfront Green on New Year’s Day. (Photo by Jim Striebich)

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The 11th annual This Is Me Foundation Polar Plunge became a spray down at Peekskill’s Riverfront Green on New Year’s Day but the change in plans didn’t diminish the amount of participants up from last year. In fact it created a festival atmosphere because of the 40 degree temperatures with sunshine, according to Lauren Brady, one of the organizers. She also noted it was the third time there was a spray down since in 2014 and 2018 the river was frozen where plungers would enter. Those spray downs were in 10 degree weather.

The decision to spray participants with water from a Peekskill fire truck came after plunge organizers learned that the excess rain from the past few weeks had washed ashore an inordinate amount of debris, making it unsafe to plunge into the river. There was also debris in the water where people would be plunging. As an alternative, a spray down took place in the same general area of the Riverfront Green park. The event raised some $29,000 for the Foundation’s causes, up from last year’s $27,000.

On the scene at the annual event were volunteers from the Peekskill Volunteer Ambulance Corps and volunteers from the Continental Volunteer Fire Department who along with Sue Sheridan walked the area on Sunday and saw how unsafe it would be to enter the water. Brady said Sheridan has been a liaison with This Is Me and area emergency services personnel since the first plunge. “We saw that even if people could get past what was on the shore, there were big pieces of debris in the water that would be dangerous for people,” said Brady.

Raising awareness about alopecia, while giving hope to any individual facing adversity is the mission of the This Is Me Foundation. Founded by Peekskill residents and sisters Caitlin & Lauren Brady,  the Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to raise awareness about alopecia, an auto- immune disease that causes hair loss, while giving hope to any individual who faces adversity. All proceeds go directly to the This Is Me Scholarship Fund, Inspired by Ryan Risco & Cait Chivonne Polhill. The fund has awarded 125 $500.00 scholarships locally and nationally since 2012, and recently announced their 2024 scholarship program.


About the Contributor
Regina Clarkin
Regina Clarkin, Editor and Publisher
When the Peekskill Herald weekly newspaper ceased publishing in August 2000 it was the first time in the history of the city that there wasn’t a local newspaper.  The award-winning weekly was often referred to as the ‘glue’ of the community. Founded on January 9, 1986 by Regina Clarkin, Kathy Daley and Rich Zahradnik with a $7,000 credit card line, the paper filled the void created when the daily Evening Star was sold to Gannett and moved out of town. Founding publisher Regina Clarkin continued to live in the Peekskill Cortlandt area and turned her attention to other life endeavors.  Through the ensuing 19 years, Clarkin was frequently stopped in town and asked when she would start up the Herald again. In January 2019, Clarkin decided it was less labor intensive to deliver a weekly blog than a print newspaper so she began posting one story a week about life in Peekskill. After a successful crowd funding campaign in 2020, the Herald was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in July of 2021. Peekskill Herald is a digital relative of the former print edition, featuring many of the favorite aspects of the beloved Peekskill Herald such as old pictures, personality profiles and well written stories about newsworthy events. Regina Clarkin is the editor and publisher of the site. Photo by Joe Squillante