Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest


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 ContestNathan’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!"


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61 comments:

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I love your umbrella/beach shot, Pat!

What a great way to spend July 4th. So Nathan's is in all fifty states...and I had never heard of them. I guess I don't get out much!

I can not believe that anyone...whatever their size...could eat that many hot dogs in 10 minutes! I wonder how they felt after. I think I'll stick to my few every year...and enjoy them to the fullest!

Barbara F. said...

I can't believe I lived ten minutes away from Nathan's Famous and I think I ate there only once as a child! This contest makes me a little nervous, I guess I kind of wonder about the aftermath :). You always get great shots from whatever vantage point you have, Pat. xo,

Maria M. Boyer said...

I need to live in the City. Every post reminds me of what I am missing daily. Did I hear that this was the first year for the women's competition? Great commentary, and as usual, I loved the pics, Pat. Especially the umbrella pic. That is award worthy. Happy 4th!!

Want to come to my Sant'Onorfrio party in August?

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Great beach and umbrella shots indeed. I suddenly felt hot and slightly sticky just looking at those scenes. Don.t know if I could have enjoyed a hot dog after watching so many go down the hatch!

Willow said...

Wow, I love that beach umbrella shot. I just can't imagine that many people on a beach at one time. Even SoCal's beaches in the summer aren't that crowded.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

I am so glad I can look at your wonderful pictures and enjoy the 4th of July from your vantage point. Nobody could pay me any money in the world to do what you did. I hate heat; I hate crowds; and since I am doing Weight Watchers Online--I can't eat those wonderful hotdogs... SO---thanks, Pat, for taking me there from my computer room.... ha ha

Glad you enjoyed your 4th.
Hugs,
Betsy

mrs. c said...

I love Nathan's hot dogs! I think that Joey Chestnut won the Krystal hamburger eating contest they had here in Chattanooga last year. Ugh! Who wants to eat their hot dog so fast, I want to enjoy every bite! Did you get to watch those wonderful fireworks? I'm coming to NYC one day just to see them.

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Looks like a full day Pat! Love your shot of the colorful beach umbrellas:@)

From the Kitchen said...

I just wanted one hot dog but we had stead instead! Your photos are, as always, wonderful. I especially like the beach umbrellas!

Best,
Bonnie

From the Kitchen said...

Make that "steak" instead.

B

Liz, Karl, Madison, Brooklyn and Aubrey said...

There is never a dull moment in this world is there? Hope you had a fun 4th.

The Gathering Place said...

Sorry, the above comment was from me. I guess my daughter didn't log off when she used my computer.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

I knew you were going to write about this event ;) When I was a little girl, my grandparents took us out for Nathans franks...just one for each of us. I am both in awe and grossed out by this sport...if you know what I mean. Your pictures are just fantastic!

Snap said...

What a hoot! I don't think a hot dog would have been on my luncheon list after watching the eating contest!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks like a great way to spend the 4th of July. Loved the umbrellas ... such great color!

Jojo said...

I can't believe the crowd! What a fun way to celebrate the 4th!

Vee said...

Not only do I not know how anyone could eat 40 or 62 hotdogs in ten minutes, I don't know how you could eat two after watching it. Ha!

That umbrella shot is a first-place winner in my book. Just wonderful. That's another thing I don't know how anyone can do...sit on a crowded beach. I'm so claustrophobic.

Thanks for the grins!

Old Kitty said...

LOL! Well that was certainly a Fourth of July to remember!! How utterly crazy and such fun to be a part of though! Yay to the winners. Good grief is all I can say!!! I had to stop watching the clip after 4 minutes. Double good grief! LOL!

Glad you had an amazing time Pat!! Take care
x

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

My mother used to have an expression whenever we'd be in a crowd. She'd say, "It's as crowded as Coney Island." Now I know what she meant! All those beach umbrellas were really something. By the way, I thought that was you by the white truck.

Marg said...

Sounds like a perfect kind of day..You know I love hot-dogs, but 40 in 10 minutes..I'd rather smile alongside of your post...Good on you for attending.
I love that beach photo...That is awesome.

Anne said...

I thought I spotted you by the whte truck!

Those pictures are really lovely, they captured the essence of the day exactly.

Mind you, it seems to me it would be a great day to visit the rest of the city. By the look of the crowds on the beach, the rest of the place must have been empty!!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I love seeing the photos, too! I can't imagine actually being there! I'm glad you take lots of photos to share! ♥

Annie said...

Great photos and a great day.
I love hotdogs with saurkraut and brown mustard..sigh.
But two is my limit!

Kris said...

WOW~

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

For someone who loves food as much as I do, except for the publicity Nathan's gets out of this, I will never understand this kind of event.

The bright spot was your umbrella shot Pat. Hope you had a great Independence Day.
Sam

podso said...

That sure is a slice of New York! What a fun post and what a good time you had in the crowds with all the festivities and people watching!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I read about the contest in the paper! I love Nathan's hot dogs, but cannot imagine eating (40 - Lady's event) in ten minutes! Amazing! Loved all of your photos, Pat! Have a great week. blessings ~ tanna

Light and Voices said...

What a great way to spend the fourth of July at Nathan's. I love the umbrella beach shot.
Joyce M

Cathy said...

Your photos are fantastic, Pat. I love the shot of the umbrellas. What a great way to spend the 4th.

Carol said...

I saw the umbrella's on the news and thought that was the coolest thing. Fantastic shot, Pat! Just the thought of more than two hot dogs would make me nauseous, LOL! My grandpa used to take me to Coney Island for dogs and fries.

La said...

Clearly, I'm not eating enough. Hahaha. The umbrella shot is fabulous...and yes, I think I see you.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Can you say heart burn? That's a lot of hot dogs. I love the beautiful colorful umbrella's on the beach.

Pondside said...

So that's what you did!!! I wondered when I read your comment. I saw this on the news yesterday - what a crowd!

Ginny said...

Yours has got to be the most American of all Fourth celebrations! I love the colorful sides of the buildings, and the boardwalk pictures! Also the beautiful sailboats. Now be honest, which is it for you, Nathan's or Hebrew National?

Sarah said...

I can't imagine eating that many hot dogs. One is plenty for me! We served hot dogs at our party last night along with fried chicken and all the usual sides. I think almost everyone added a hot dog to their plates.
Great shot of the umbrellas.

Oliag said...

I LOVE that shot of all the beach umbrellas! Looks like a really fun way to spend the holiday!

The Tame Lion said...

Wow! Fantastic!
Keep it coming!! :)

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

Yup, that umbrella shot is priceless! I can't ever get over what a big draw this contest is! And you covered it, as well as the feel of Coney Island, perfectly.

I found it amusing that ESPN was going to cover it....eating on a sports network. Yet, I guess when you eat like these folks, it is a sport.

Ola said...

the beach was really crowded!
as much as I like hot dogs, I must admit I do not approve such contests:(

Catherine said...

What a fantastic day and then a trip to the boardwalk! I miss the smell of sea air!

Theresa Milstein said...

The thought of eating so many hotdogs makes me gag! Cool photos and it was probably fun to be there though.

Beth said...

Pat, I enjoyed this post. Your photo of the umbrellas on the beach is fabulous! Thanks for all your links to the various boroughs; I am going to do some armchair travelling before I do the real thing! I may email you if I have questions.
Hugs, Beth

Linda said...

Nathan's hotdogs are my favorite! Don watches that contest every year on the food network...crazy! I love the unbrella shot as well...but I can't believe there are so many people in such a small area!! Thanks for sharing another great post!!

Grandmother said...

Since it has been 16 years since I've had meat and even longer since I've eaten a hot dog, reading this made me queasy. But the great photo of the umbrellas was my favorite.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - I can't believe someone can eat that many hot dogs in such a short time - and that you braved the crowds to see it. I love your curious and adventurous spirit. Those beach scenes are wonderful, but all those people! Oh my!

Claudia said...

I once ate two hot dogs... amazing what people do! I agree that the beach shot is just stunning. And it did my heart good to visit Coney Island and Nathan's hot dogs.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

It's amazing they can eat so many hot dogs! I feel queezy just thinking about it - even though I love a good hot dog.

Great shots - especially the beach photos. It was a hot weekend here too.

Melissa F said...

Hi, Pat. Thank you for the message about the gift card. I'm so thrilled! I've emailed you.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

What fun! It must have been wonderful to be there.

Lisa@GrandmasBriefs said...

I had no idea it was such an incredible event. I saw highlights on the news ... and had to look away. Looks like great fun. I do love the umbrella shot!

lissa said...

looks like fun though I rather not watch people eat hot dogs, the aerial acrobats looks more entertaining

have a lovely day.

edenhills said...

The acrobats, the music and entertainment all sounds great, but I just don't get the hot dog eating contest. Love that picture of all the umbrellas.

Teresa

mom2kiddos said...

It amazes me how they ever stuff so many hotdogs into themselves. Great photos. Saying Hi from ALphabe Thurs!

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I just can't contemplate eating so many hot dogs in 10 minutes! I feel sure it would take me that long to eat one.

I just love those colourful umbrellas - are you certain there is beach under there? :)

Lily Hydrangea said...

wow! what a great post. I heard about the contest but I didn't look for it in the news so thanks for sharing all of your wonderful images.
It;s hard to imagine that type of eating contest being good for a person though-yikes!

Tracy said...

LOVE that top photo, Pat... love all the photos, really... the summer fun is just infectious in the post. I could almost eat a hot dog! ;o) Happy Day ((HUGS))

Punctuation Mark said...

wow... that contest is amazing and disturbing at the same time... haha!!!

Sue said...

That crowd is pure craziness! I can't even imagine it!!

=)

Snappy Di said...

Thanks for stopping over for the Hobmother giveaway on my blog. Had to come see who you are and am now following... cuz I LOVE New Yawk blogs!

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

Judie said...

Well, I am glad to know that there was more entertainment other than watching people stuff themselves with hotdogs. I know this sounds horrible to ask, but do you think they all threw up afterwards?

Pat, your photos are so very good! The one with all the umbrellas would make an excellent poster. May I post it on my blog with a link back to your site?

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Thanks everyone for you comments! I know this contest is an odd one but somehow it fits in perfectly with the traditional carnival atmosphere of Coney Island. The winners get a large cash prize, so they are very motivated to win and don't seem ill at all afterward. They obviously train for this contest.

The beach is almost always crowded on a hot summer weekend. There are 2.5 million people that live in the borough of Brooklyn and therefore a free place to catch a cool ocean breeze for the day is very popular...just like in the days of old!

Jenny said...

40! Wow. That's a lot of dogs!

This was such a neat post, Pat. I enjoyed visiting this event. I've read about it before but not seen such great pictures!

You do such wonderful things!

Thanks for sharing your lovely time!

A+