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Archive for March, 2013

Palm Sunday in Coney Island

Decorative Palm Bouquets on Palm Sunday in Coney Island. March 24, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

Palm Sunday is Coney Island’s traditional opening day and some visitors came directly from church with palm fronds in hand to the Blessing of the Rides. And then we spotted these beautiful palm bouquets! Next Sunday, expect to see folks in Easter bonnets and their Sunday best.

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March 21, 2013: Photo of the Day: Miss Coney Island Meets Miss Coney Island

March 17, 2013: Photo Album: Coney Island Getting Ready for Opening Day

December 23, 2012: Photo of the Day: It’s a Wrap at Tom’s Coney Island

June 9, 2011: Photo of the Day: Mango Vendor in Coney Island

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Bob Shoudt AKA Notorious BOB

Bob Shoudt AKA Notorious BOB at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier, Coney Island. March 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

On Saturday in Coney Island, Nathan’s Famous celebrated the reopening of their Boardwalk eatery and Coney Island’s Opening Weekend with the first hot dog eating qualifying round of the season. The winners were Bob Shoudt AKA “Notorious B.O.B.,” who ate 36 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, and Larell Marie AKA The Real Deal, who ate 17. They will return to Coney to compete on July Fourth, when separate men’s and women’s hot dog eating contests are held in front of the original Nathan’s at Surf and Stillwell, which is being rebuilt after Sandy.

Compared to the hugely attended and tightly choreographed July 4th event televised on ESPN, the qualifier had a refreshingly impromptu air. A couple of “Bunettes,” the ladies who flip the cards indicating the number of franks consumed, had to be recruited from the audience, which consisted of a few hundred people. The event was the first-ever hot dog qualifier held in Coney Island, according to contest organizer and emcee extraordinaire George Shea.

Larell Marie AKA The Real Deal

Larell Marie AKA The Real Deal on her 3rd hot dog at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier, Coney Island. March 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

It was the first qualifier we’ve attended in more than a dozen years. In 2001, we followed Ed “Cookie” Jarvis, Don “Moses” Lerman and “Krazy” Kevin Lipsitz on the hot dog eating circuit, starting with the season’s first qualifier at the Meadowlands, on assignment for a travel magazine. It turned out to be the year that Kobayashi stunned everyone by eating 50 hot dogs and buns on the Fourth of July, doubling the record of the previous year. The article was called “Bet on the Thin Guy.”

After winning yesterday’s qualifier, Shoudt tweeted: “Since 7/4/07 only one man besides myself has won the Nathan’s hotdog eating contest at Coney Island, just sayin’,” He’s referring to current champ and record holder Joey Chestnut, who ate 68 hot dogs and buns in last year’s contest.

If you’re interested in competing in a Nathan’s Famous qualifier, visit Major League Eating to register. Contests are being held in 12 cities, including Savannah, Miami, Las Vegas, St. Paul, Pittsburgh and Boston, before heading back to the New York metro area for qualifiers in Queens and the Meadowlands.

George Shea

George Shea at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier, Coney Island. March 23, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

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March 17, 2013: Photo Album: Coney Island Getting Ready for Opening Day

March 13, 2013: Coney Island 2013: New Ghouls Mingle with Old in Rebuilt Spook-A-Rama

March 4, 2013: Nathan’s on Coney Island Boardwalk to Open Mid-March, Surf Ave by May

January 18, 2013: Coney Island 2013: “Water Mania” Spin Ride to Debut at Luna Park

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Miss Coney Island Meets Miss Coney Island

Lefty Lucy, Vice President of Miss Coney Island USA and Dancing Doll Miss Coney Island, May 26, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita

Looking for a photo of the Tilt-A-Whirl in action, we came across this unpublished pic from last summer that’s too delicious not to share right now. On the left is Lefty Lucy, winner of the Miss Coney Island 2011 title at the burlesque beauty pageant and now Vice President of Miss Coney Island USA. “Miss Coney Island” on the right is the dancing doll whose motto is “Don’t Postpone Joy” and “25 cents to fall in LOVE.”

Coney Island USA’s burlesque beauty pageant was started by Bambi the Mermaid in 2003. Miss Cherry Delight is the titleholder for 2013. The dancing doll known as Miss Coney Island made her debut on Jones Walk in 1998 after a previous career as an Indian Princess automaton at Connecticut’s Danbury Fair. Now located in a window on West 12th Street near the entrance to the Wonder Wheel, the dancing doll and her dancing cat open for the season on Coney Island’s Opening Day, March 24th. Lefty Lucy is teaching a workshop on stage kittening this Saturday at the New York School of Burlesque.

ATZ has previously interviewed both Miss Coney Islands here and here.

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