We left our apartment at around 8:45 a.m. on Saturday. We took an hour-long subway ride out to Coney Island. Neither of us had ever been to Coney Island before, so we were really looking forward to it! We arrived shortly after 10:00 a.m., and crowds were already growing for the Annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. We decided to wander out to the boardwalk first to take a quick look around. What a place!
VIDEO: First and last minutes of the contest from our point of view.
If you want to see a video of the contest highlights from a better vantage point, click here.
I have to say, the grossest part of the whole thing was after the contest was after they gave Kobayashi his second place trophy, and they asked him to lift his shirt to show his enlarged stomach. It was RIDICULOUS. So gross. I'm sure you're all pretty happy right now that we don't have a picture of it! Instead, how about a picture of me and Eric after the contest?
After the contest we met up briefly with some friends, then parted ways from them once again to explore more of Coney Island. We checked out the beach and all the rides, including the Cyclone Rollercoaster, which is one of the oldest rollercoasters still in operation in the U.S. They've been talking about closing it because it's so old for years, but it somehow still remains open. Coney Island was really quite an experience - in addition to the rides and delicious fair-type food, they also had all kinds of side shows, weird games like "Shoot the Freak" (live human targets! Score!), and an awful lot of interesting characters roaming around. Definitely an experience!
A large side show. Eric and I decided that side shows are a pretty low point for our society, but what can ya do?After our roaming around, we waited in line at Nathan's (for 40 minutes!) to get some hot dogs of our own, then found a spot on the beach to sit and eat. In our own hot dog eating contest, the winner was Eric with two and a quarter hot dogs, to my one and three quarters. Yay Eric!
We hung out at home for a bit, then made some sandwiches and headed out to the fireworks. The fireworks were being held over the Hudson River this year (as opposed to the usual East River), which was great for us because we are only two blocks from the Hudson. So, we figured we would leave around 7:00 and have no trouble walking two blocks east and finding a decent spot. Well, we forgot about how ridiculous the cops get with blocking things off and funneling people different ways. We had to walk about three blocks north just to even get over to the water because they had all the streets blocked off, then we had to walk back six blocks south to find a spot. It just doesn't make sense!
We did finally find a spot along the Westside Highway at 51st Street. There was a little open space around us, but within 5-10 minutes of us setting up camp, the area was PACKED. Like, people sitting on other people's blankets packed. Crazy! But, we were happy to have a spot so we settled in to wait 2.5 hours for the show to begin. I realized that we really have spent a lot of time waiting for things to start since living in this city. Crazy New Yorkers - always so early for things!
Eric on our blanket. All that empty space around him was about to fill up like you wouldn't believe.
The fireworks were set to music performed by the New York Pops on the deck of the Intrepid, but we weren't able to hear that, unfortunately. I did see this clip of it online, though, and it looks like it was amazing:
VIDEO: Clip of the fireworks from the Intrepid
After the fireworks were over, it was nice to walk just a couple blocks back to our apartment. We went to bed pretty soon after that, because we were so exhausted from our long day! It was such a great Fourth of July.
Hope you all enjoyed your weekend as much as we enjoyed ours. Today I have a very busy day ahead of me as I prepare for our trip TOMORROW! Can you believe it?!