By now you must know about my soft spot for Coney Island. This year I got a bee in my bonnet about the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. My dad loved Nathan’s hot dogs, and consequently I do too. So I bravely requested a press pass from Major League Eating, who kindly obliged.
In my humble opinion, eating hot dogs in Coney Island is clearly about eating locally and seasonally. Nothing says “summertime” like a hot dog at the beach.
There was a 90% chance of rain in the forecast, and so I was hemming and hawing all morning about whether or not to go to the event. And then I remembered going to an amusement park on a rainy day once during high school. Nobody was there, and we had the roller coasters all to ourselves. So I figured most people would stay home from the hot dog eating contest too, meaning a smaller crowd to deal with.
I was only sort of right, as the crowd was somewhat smaller than usual, but there were still thousands of people there. I made my way to the press entrance, and I managed to scoot my way up to the front without offending anyone or getting either eyeball poked out by umbrellas.
I missed the women’s competition unfortunately. The incumbent Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas lost to Miki Sudo, who swallowed 34 dogs in 10 minutes. And then came Joey Chestnut! He won his 8th straight title with 61 dogs. He went home a champion and a newly engaged man. (He proposed to his girlfriend before the competition, and she said yes.)
Congratulations, Joey Chestnut! I was rooting for you! Later in the day, I had two hot dogs in your honor and felt quite happy and ill afterwards. By the way, it did rain. I took these videos with my camera encased in a plastic bag from Duane Reade.
Watch Joey pat his belly after his win (below)!
~Karen Seiger, Markets of New York City