It was a hot and steamy forth of July holiday here in New York City, and my husband and I decided to take the subway, which runs above ground in some locations in Brooklyn, over to Coney Island.
(All photos will enlarge when clicked on once, and then clicked again when they reopen)
There, between Surf Avenue and Stillwell Avenues, we decided to join the crowd to watch the famous Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest! Nathan’s Famous was founded by a Polish immigrant, Nathan Handwerker. He started his business with a small hot dog stand and sold hot dogs that were manufactured based on a recipe developed by his wife, Ida.
Nathan's has been an institution in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York since 1916 and they are now located in all 50 states. Every year they sell over 425 million Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs! According to legend, on July 4, 1916, four immigrants had a hot dog eating contest at Nathan's Famous stand on Coney Island to settle an argument about who was the most patriotic. The contest has been held at the site nearly every year since, resuming in 1972, in conjunction with Independence Day.
When we arrived the crowd was already in the tens of thousands! This was as close as we could get to the stage area where the contest was to take place.
Everyone was anticipating watching the rivals compete in this famous eating event!
An overhead blimp took the photo below of the crowd which was shown on the giant TV screen.
We were standing in the crowd near the white truck on the right, where the TV screen was located. Can you see us? Last year the crowd was 40,000 strong -- I wonder if we helped break a record this year?
There was music and festivities going on while we waited for the event to begin.
Finally, at 11:30 AM the announcer, George Shea, from Major League Eating, was raised into the air in a cherry picker to announce the beginning of the women's hot dog eating contest. This was the first year there was a separate woman's competition.
The women and judges in position before the competition began as seen on the big screen. I was surprised to see during their introductions that many of the women contestants were petite and weighed only 100 pounds! How do they manage to eat so many hot dogs?
It was then amazing to see how many full hot dogs and buns they were able to consume in the ten minutes allotted time! The winner was the woman on the right in the photo above, Sonya Thomas, of Alexandria, Virginia, who ate 40 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes.
In between the women and men's competition we were entertained by aerial acrobats.
Next, at twelve noon, the men's hot dog eating contest began. There were competitive eaters from China, Denmark, Canada and all around the USA entered into the contest. The favorite to win was Joey Chestnut, a California native who was the defending champion four times from 2007-10,
He did it again! Chestnut devoured 62 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes!
You can watch this Youtube video of the men's competition.
Every year Nathan's donates 100,000 hot dogs to the New York Food Bank as part of the festivities.
After watching the event many in the crowd got on the Nathan's lines to purchase a few hot dogs for themselves.
We were no exception!
Then we took a long walk along the boardwalk.
Since it was a holiday, and the weather was hot, the beach and ocean were very crowded. This view shows some of the amusement rides in the background, including the famous Wonder Wheel. If you missed my post about my exciting ride on the Wonder Wheel you can read it at this link!
I love this close up photo I took of all the colorful umbrellas. Even a spot on the beach is prime real estate in New York City!
There was a steamy haze over the ocean but the water was cool and many were enjoying a swim or a sail.
Watching a hot dog eating contest, a couple of hot dogs, walk on the board walk, a few rides and a quick dip in the ocean ....all in all, it was a fun way to spend a 4th of July!
I'm linking to Outdoor Wednesday event on Susan's blog A Southern Dreamer and Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday event for the letter "L" for "Lots of hot dogs!"