The Perfect Fourth Of July

We were in New York City for the Fourth of July and had the opportunity to witness once of the greatest competitions of all time -- the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. This event is not for the faint of heart. Champion eaters from around the world descend on Coney Island for a shot at the annual title. Even ESPN televises the festivities.


Running late, we quickly passed by the El Dorado "Bump Your Ass Off" Bumper Cars and picked our way closer to the stage (but not too close...you never want to be too close to someone that has just downed more than 60 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes!)

The anticipation was palpable. Even our canine friends were licking their lips waiting for the contest to begin.
One by one, the competitors were introduced. We had the good fortune to see Takeru Kobayashi, the heavy weight and former title-holder from Japan take the stage.

He was soon followed by reigning champion, Joey Chestnut, who strutted on stage carrying his Nathan's victory belt.
The competition began and the crowd grew frenzied as hot dog after hot dog was wolfed down.

Kobayashi and Chestnut were neck and neck. We were witnessing a world-record pace of hot-dog eating.
While the time-per-dog seemed to decrease as time elapsed and many of the competitors had a pained look on their faces, we did witness history. Joey Chestnut downed 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes, a new world record!

Having crossed that experience off my life-list, we continued down the Coney Island boardwalk. I was impressed by this star painted on one of the garbage cans.


We stopped for a knish and Jamaican beef patty at this quintessential boardwalk shack.


Ice cold lemonade really hit the spot.

We saw this great mural along the boardwalk. "All Coney Islanders have sand in their shoes. Once it gets in, it never gets out". So true!

After the morning's excitement, we continued into Brighton Beach in search of a little sweet treat. Brighton Beach, Brooklyn has a large Russian immigrant population. Situated under the subway tracks, Brighton Beach Avenue is lined with plenty of shops and eateries.


The produce was spectacular. Just look at the care with which each apple was placed into the pyramid.
Meats were also plentiful. There was a great selection at a local deli.

We hit the jackpot at Food Heaven which featured a dozen or more cakes that could be ordered by the slice. We asked for about 2 inches of the honey cake and two inches of the cherry cake to share with family and friends. Yum!

We made our way back to Manhattan in time to catch the sunset from our hotel balcony.

We were staying at the Affinia Hotel near Penn Station. When we checked in, the clerk upgraded us to a room on a high floor with a terrace. We didn't realize the significance of this until we learned that the New York City Fourth of July fireworks would be taking place along the Hudson River between 20th and 50th St. We had a five star view of the pyrotechnics! It was an experience we won't soon forget, a perfect Fourth of July!

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Sidewalk Safari: The Perfect Fourth Of July
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Sidewalk Safari
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