You can take the D train from our house in the Bronx to the last stop in Brooklyn. The last stop just so happens to be Coney Island, so what better occasion to make this trip than for the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest on July 4?
We arrived with enough time to stake out our places for the women's contest. Check out the photo below of these competitors. The woman, Sonya Thomas (aka the Black Widow), on the far left is last year's champion. She won the contest then by eating 41 Nathan's Famous hot dogs and buns. There's 1:09 left on the clock and in this image she's already at 42. Turns out that 45-year-old, 100-pound woman can consume 45 ("One for every year I've been alive," she said) hot dogs in 10 minutes.
The organizers (i.e. ESPN) had about an hour and a half to kill between the men's and women's contests, so they distracted the audience with trampoline shows, basketball contests and rappers on stage.
At noon it was time for the men to scarf down their age. Unbelievably the winner of the men's contest, Joey Chestnut from San Jose, consumed 62 hot dogs and buns. Here he is with 4:10 left on the clock and 44 hot dogs in his stomach.
Here he is in a post-contest interview. He looks normal, but his stomach is bursting at the seams!
Dominic and I took a few minutes to take in the sights at Surf and Stillwell, then we walked the Luna Park boardwalk before returning to Nathan's for a taste at what all the fuss is about. Despite the warnings Dominic indulged.
He liked it, but agreed that one hot dog was plenty.
It sure worked. I left that one-hour Hard Times tour more thankful than ever for being born to the family I was, in the place that I was, in the time that I was. For dinner we had Thai food at a restaurant called Sticky Rice... just a part of the melting pot day it had been.
We watched the fireworks display and listened to the soundtrack on the radio. It was great day to remind us how good it is to be born in the U.S.A!