Coney Island, home of the hotdog
Coney Island is one of those places that time forgot; a former island and beach holiday resort for New Yorkers, not much has changed since the famous Cyclone wooden roller coaster made its debut on June 26, 1927. It was misty and muggy the day I made it down to Coney Island (as the photos might show) but that didn’t stop the fun of walking along the boardwalk, checking out the old fair ground rides, eating candy floss and inducing a premature heart attack by eating one of the famous deep-fried oreos.
When it was built in the late 1800′s/early 1900′s it was THE place for any Travelette to be seen, but today it’s more famous for its Mermaid Parade (held annually in June) and the Coney Island Freak Show. Recently, the old theme park was at risk of falling into disrepair but after a local initiative to save the famous wooden roller coaster and the boardwalk, the amusement park remains open, bringing a little old school joy to people wanting to escape the rat race of New York.
To get to Coney Island, the easiest thing is to get the F-train from Manhattan (it should take about an hour depending on where you’re leaving from). Be careful to check the opening times of the park if you want to ride the famous Cyclone roller coaster or the big wheel; in the winter it’s only open on weekends, apart from its great Halloween party at the end of October.
Finally, apart from the amusement park & beach, Coney Island lays claim to being the place that invented the hotdog. In order to eternalise itself into the halls of fast food fame and glory, it hosts the anual all-you-can-eat world hot dog championships. The contest, now in its 96th year, is held annually on the 4th of July at Nathan’s Famous restaurant (at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues). This year it attracted over 40,000 spectators and an additional 1.949 million viewers watching live via ESPN. The current female champion is Sonya “the black widow” Thomas who, in this years competition, managed to eat an astonishing 40 hot dogs (and buns) in only 10 minutes. Maybe Nina and Katherine (our recent Flummi boucy ball champions) are looking for a new challenge for 2012 – did I mention there’s a $40,000 prize fund at stake ladies?