Brighton Beach resident Gary Atlas isn't afraid of the city's cold, snowy weather. In fact, blizzard or no blizzard, he runs 6 miles, shirtless, along the Coney Island boardwalk and tops it off with a swim in the water (even when it's 34-degrees). He even gargles the cold salt water.
Atlas originally began the exercise routine as a means of physically and mentally escaping a difficult home life. Caring for his elderly mother and his own unemployment became more bearable after a brief "vacation" along the boardwalk and in the ocean. Although his mother passed away in 2009, he still continues the routine, and notes that since he started his frigid swim he hasn't been sick once.
So if you were thinking about losing that expensive gym membership, now you have a viable and completely normal alternative.