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Posts Tagged ‘Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest’

Lola Star Boutique

Getting ready for Coney Island’s season at the Lola Star Boutique in Stillwell Terminal. March 2, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

Never mind the snow, it’s only two weeks till spring! This week in Coney Island, the Boardwalk was alternately icy and snowy, and the majority of businesses in the amusement area were shut tight, but glimpses of spring could be seen. In Stillwell Terminal, Dianna Carlin was moving back into her Lola Star Boutique after spending the winter at a pop up shop in Williamsburg. Her second store is on the Boardwalk. Coney Island’s Opening Day is just a few weeks away on March 29 because Palm Sunday is early this year.

Eldorado Arcade

Getting ready for the season at the Eldorado Arcade on Coney Island’s Bowery. March 2, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

The front of the Eldorado Arcade was open as workers readied the arcade machines for the first event of the new season–DJ Nicky Siano’s 60th birthday party on March 20. Siano, who was a resident DJ at Studio 54, was drawn to Coney Island by the Eldorado Auto Skooter’s legendary sound system built by Richard Long of the Paradise Garage and Studio 54. “We will be dancing on the floor (not riding),” say party organizers, who are selling advance tickets online for $25. The arcade will be operating and Nicky will be spinning all night.

Wonder Wheel cars

Freshly painted Wonder Wheel cars will soon be put back on the Wheel. March 2, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

At Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, the new Whip-inspired Speedway ride was being assembled while the freshly painted Wonder Wheel cars were lined up inside the shop. Spring officially arrives in Coney Island when the cars are put back up on the Wheel. As we’ve noted before, being here to see the 24 cars go up, the Swinging ones first and then the Stationary, is like seeing red, white and blue crocuses bloom before your eyes. The date the cars go up is subject to the vagaries of wind, weather and work schedules, but it’s usually a week or so before Opening Day.

Wahlburgers

Celebrity burger chain Wahlburgers is under construction and set to open in May. March 2, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

The green sign on Thor Equities’ Stillwell Avenue storefront across from Nathan’s says “Coming Spring 2015 – Wahlburgers – Our Family – Our Story – Our Burgers.” Coney Island is getting a concentration of new franchises, including IHOP, Checkers and Subway Cafe, that threaten to turn Surf Avenue into Anytown USA. Wahlburgers has a niche of its own. It will bring the celebrity brothers Donnie, Mark and Paul Wahlberg to Coney Island to film the restaurant’s opening for their A&E reality show. When ATZ first reported the news last year of Wahlburgers coming to Coney, the post was nearly as popular as Friday night fireworks! The restaurant will be the first of seven Wahlburgers franchises slated to open in New York City. Construction is underway with a May 1st opening date announced.

Piece of Velvet

Cake pops at newly opened Piece of Velvet Cake & Cupcake Shop on Surf Avenue, Coney Island. March 2, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

An outpost of Piece of Velvet, a cake and cupcake shop with locations in Fort Greene and Harlem, opened in Coney Island on Valentine’s Day. Owned by a “staff collective” of former Cake Man Raven employees, tThe store is located on the north side of Surf across the street from Nathan’s and Williams Candy. Red velvet cakes and cupcakes are their specialty and are delicious. Check for introductory specials on Groupon.

While Nathan’s outdoor dining area is still covered in snow, plenty of indoor seating is available during the off-season. Last weekend, one of the first qualifiers for the July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest was held at the Florida Strawberry Festival. The winning contestants were Nasty Nate Biller of Texas, who downed 23 dogs in 10 minutes, and Mary Bowers of California, with 10.

Sign for Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Sign for 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Nathan’s Outdoor Dining Area. March 2, 2015. Photo © Tricia Vita

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March 3, 2015: Coney Island 2015: The Whip Returns with a NASCAR Twist

February 22, 2015: Coney Island Amusement Park Jobs from Entry Level to Managerial Up for Grabs

January 29, 2015: Coney Island 2015: Subway Cafe, Sushi Lounge, IHOP, Checkers, Johnny Rockets

September 13, 2013: Coney Island Always: Visiting the Big CI Year-Round

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Schweikerts Walk

The sign for Schweikerts Walk, an alley adjacent to Nathan’s, had vanished from its bracket. November 16, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

What’s missing from the above photo of Nathan’s taken last November? The street sign for Schweikerts Walk, the alley where Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest was originally held. In the late ’90s, either 1997 or 1998, the contest moved to Stillwell Avenue, Nathan’s spokesman George Shea tells ATZ. Happily, a brand-new street sign was spotted at this historic site on Saturday, as you can see in the photo below by Magicalthemeparks.

ATZ noted the missing sign while researching ATZ’s Guide to Coney Island’s Honorary Walks and Places (November 18, 2014), which includes stops at Milton Berger Place, Jones Walk and Granville T Woods Way. We reported it the next day via the City’s Street Sign Defect Complaint page for dangling, damaged or missing signs. The response time is said to be 30 days. On January 29, we finally received an email saying “the Department of Transportation has inspected the condition you reported and a repair order has been issued for the signs to be manufactured and replaced.” And here we are at Schweikerts Walk, which was named after Philip Schweikert, a local bottler whose mineral water bottles are highly collectible today.

Schweikerts Walk

Schweikerts Walk Sign Replaced by DOT. February 7, 2015. Photo © Magicalthemeparks

No word yet from D.O.T. on two other signs missing from Coney Island for which we also filed reports: Henderson Walk and the Dewey Albert Place sign at the Boardwalk. In June 1997, 10th Street between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk was named Dewey Albert Place in recognition of the work and life of the founder of Astroland and in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Cyclone Roller Coaster. The sign on Surf Avenue is intact but construction underway at 10th Street and the Boardwalk may impede the replacement of the second sign.

Henderson Walk seems to be out of luck because there’s no longer a street pole for the sign. When Thor Equities put in a new sidewalk on Surf Avenue in 2012, the street pole was removed as well as two 119-year-old trolley utility poles. The former Henderson Walk is fenced off by Thor and used as a parking lot. As far as the City is concerned, has Henderson Walk ceased to officially exist? The Kensington Walk sign remains on Surf Avenue, though the Walk itself is no more.

Related posts on ATZ…

November 18, 2014: ATZ’s Guide to Coney Island’s Honorary Walks and Places

April 4, 2012: Photo of the Day: Granville T. Woods Memorial Trolley Pole

February 21, 2012: Thor Destroys 119-Year-Old Relics of Coney Trolley History

January 19, 2010: Nathan Slept Here! Coney Island’s Feltman’s Kitchen Set for Demolition

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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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Coney Island USA Gala Banner

March 9: Coney Island USA Spring Gala at Webster Hall. Banner by Marie Roberts. Photo © Norman Blake

March 8: The Coney Island Dancers First Dance Party of the Season
The Coney Island Dancers, whose free parties on the Boardwalk are the stuff of summer, are getting a head start on the season. On Friday, March 8th, Rican Vargas AKA The Commander-in-Chief is hosting Latin House Night with DJ Frankie Paradise from 9 pm till 4 am. The venue is Coney Island Bar and Grill on the north side of Surf Avenue, across the street from Coney Island USA. $5 cover until 11pm, $8 after. Full kitchen menu available.

March 9: Tracing the Story of the Dreamland Bell’s Maker
dreamland bellWhen the bell from Coney Island’s Iron Pier was hauled up from the ocean nearly a century after it was lost during the 1911 Dreamland Fire, there was jubilation in Coney. Information about the bell’s maker has come to light thanks to the research of Brooklyn architect David Grider. On Saturday, he’s giving a talk at Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel on the “USS Monitor to the Dreamland Bell: Unscrambling the Story of James Gregory.” The 1 pm event is free but reservations are required. A trolley tour of related Green-Wood sites, including Gregory’s grave, is available for $15.

March 9: Coney Island USA Spring Gala & The Burlesque Manifesto
When Coney Island opens for the season on March 24, we’ll miss Coney Island USA’s circus sideshow, burlesque shows and Freak Bar. They don’t expect to open till May, since CIUSA’s building suffered flood damage from Sandy. On Saturday, March 9th, you can help out with their renovation costs by partying from 7-11 pm with sideshow freaks and burlesque beauties at Coney Island USA’s Spring Gala at Webster Hall. One of the highlights of the evening is a staging of “The Burlesque Manifesto” starring a who’s who of Coney luminaries and based on an article written by CIUSA founder Dick Zigun. Ticket prices range from $60 to $250 and may be purchased online or at the door.

March 10: Around the World with Tom Thumb
Tom ThumbTom Thumb biographer and University of Bridgeport professor Eric D. Lehman will present an illustrated lecture at the Barnum Museum on March 10. Charles S. Stratton, AKA General Tom Thumb, became an international celebrity when P.T. Barnum took him on a European tour, which is the subject of Sunday’s talk. Lehman is the author of Becoming Tom Thumb due out in November from Wesleyan University Press. The museum will have on display an exhibition of artifacts owned by Tom Thumb and his wife Lavinia Warren. Admission to the 2 pm event is $5.
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March 17: Carol Lipnik and Spookarama at Joe’s Pub
carollipnik_ 5621071-thumbConey Island native Carol Lipnik, who calls her band Spookarama after the dark ride at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, will appear in concert at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater. Her multi-octave voice and Dred Scott’s wurlitzer do indeed make you feel as if you’ve stepped inside an old-timey spook house or are careening down the drop of a roller coaster. Check out ATZ’s Q & A with Carol and her song “List Of Attractions (Of Coney Island)” here. The St Patrick’s Day show is at 7 pm. Tickets are $15.

March 23: Nathan’s 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier
Nathan’s kicks off Coney Island’s 2013 Season with the first-ever qualifier for the 4th of July hot dog eating contest to be held in Coney Island. The male and female winners of the March 23rd Coney qualifier will win a spot in “The Big Dance” on July Fourth. The event is set for 1 pm at Nathan’s Boardwalk restaurant, which reopens on March 18 to serve the first Nathan’s hot dogs and buns since Sandy devastated the area. Renovations are underway at the Surf Avenue location, which is expected to reopen by Memorial Day Weekend. For info on registering for a hot dog eating qualifier, visit Major League Eating.

March 24: Coney Island’s Opening Day of the 2013 Season
Coney IslandConey Island’s traditional Palm Sunday Opener comes early this year – March 24th! The rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Luna Park and Scream Zone, 12th Street Amusements and the Eldorado will go for their first spin of 2013. The Cyclone opens at 12 noon with the first 100 fans on line riding for free. At Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, the annual Blessing of the Rides ceremony starts at 11 am on the Boardwalk. This year, to celebrate Coney’s comeback from Sandy, rides on the landmark Wonder Wheel are free for everyone on Opening Day. The Coney Island History Project’s free exhibit center will be open, along with its neighbors “Coney Island Always,” a window showcasing a miniature animated amusement park, and “Miss Coney Island” the dancing doll. It’s also the first official weekend of the season for the Boardwalk shops and eateries and the games on the Bowery.

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