Donna Paysepar went viral after sharing footage of herself “swimming with Lady Liberty,” which she admits she did for attention.
She told NJ Advance Media she “did it for the video and for the memory … and ’cause it was also hot.”
Since she shared the video on August 13, it has garnered more than 4 million views and 400,000 likes.
“When it started getting likes, I was like, ‘OK, this was what I wanted,’” she said. “I just have the YOLO mentality.’’
Commenters were shocked by her stunt — and pretty grossed out.
“Sis you swimming with a lot more than just Lady Liberty,” one user wrote.
“She’s gonna come back out with radioactive powers,” another said.
“You need to see a doctor IMMEDIATELY,” a third joked.
Paysepar shared a series of follow-up videos in which she assured the public that she is doing just fine health-wise post-dive.
“I wanna be famous,” she said in one of the videos. “Thanks to the lovers, thanks to the haters.”
So that just leaves one question — is the Hudson River safe to swim in?
According to the New York Department of Conservation, the answer is, generally, yes. In fact, people do all the time — it’s even an official part of the New York City Triathalon.
A spokesperson told NJ Advance Media that while water quality has greatly improved since the Clean Water Act passed in 1972, it’s not technically considered “swimmable” for most people.
If you do want to try to swim there, the DEC recommends making sure you do not swallow the water and try to keep your head above the surface at all times.
“This reduces the chance of getting sick from bacteria, parasites or other microorganisms that can enter your body through your mouth, eyes, ears and nose,” they said.
If you’re comfortable with that, dive right in. The water is — and I cannot stress this enough — fine.
If you enjoyed this story, you might also like reading about this man who paddled right into a bull shark while kayaking.