After a fairly rushed morning in which we realized that week-long metro cards don't work the way we thought they did, we made our way to Coney Island. Poor Alyanna forgot her card up in her dorm when we were in the station and went to retrieve her Metrocard that didn't even end up working. On the way, I took a lovely nap against my headrest, a few cold metal bars right by my seat. Luckily, barely anyone was left inside the metro by the time we got to Coney Island.
|There's a new champion in town.|
The reason we went so early was to go see the National Hot Dog Eating Contest! And although it took the announcer a good 30 minutes - at least - to get started, we witnessed greatness from a solid 400 ft away. Despite only having a partial view of the competition blocked chiefly by a man dressed in a hot dog costume on the stage, the ten minutes in which the contestants ate their hot dogs was exhilarating. People around me were screaming weird things like "You go, tiny guy!" and "Take him down." and "Move out of the way hot dog!"
While I've never kept up with the world of hot dog eating, I used to remember Kobayashi as the hot dog king, until some other guy beat him. Apparently, "some other guy" was Joey Chestnut, current world champion. As it turned out, he himself lost to Matt Stonie today, a two hot dog deficit with 62 for Stonie, 60 for Joey Chestnut. If you think about how many hot dogs a person can possibly eat in ten minutes, let alone, how many hot dogs a person can eat in one sitting, those numbers of hot dogs are insane.
Slightly hungry and slightly feeling like the hot dog contest put the gross in engrossing, we had chicken and a couple sides for lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant. We came out of the restaurant only to find that it was raining, causing us to reconsider our previous afternoon plans to spend the day at the beach and the amusement park. This worked itself out in the form of Coney Island's sideshow with special, crazy acts designed to amaze. Although we were not allowed to take any pictures, I can say that many of the acts stayed and will stay in my head. And not even just because the acts were awesome (which they were), but because the people and costumes looked so distinct themselves. I couldn't help but wonder what they would look like or act like out of context as people in the presumably normal world, just a couple of friends trying to make a living.
|Meet Ivan, the sand turtle.|
Miraculously, the rain had stopped once we emerged from the sideshow. The skies weren't exactly blue and clear but it gradually improved, granting us the liberty of walking around "Luna Park," which looked like Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in its more preliminary and underdeveloped stages. After deciding as a cohort that the tickets were way too darn expensive to actually go ride anything, we took the cheaper alternative and explored the adjacent beach.
We ended up spending the rest of the day there, taking turns burying each other alive waist-down in sand, playing the "who can go further into the ocean despite the absence of a bathing suit" game, and walking and talking along the shoreline. Ms. Thrift was kind enough to wait in crazy long lines to get us some deliciously famous Nathan's hot dogs before we finished off the day at our beach and decided to head out before it got too busy and watch fireworks downtown.
Even though I'm not sure how much of the crowd we ended up avoiding, the fireworks were splendid, an extravagant show of glittering explosions in the night. Happy 4th of July! Independence! Freedom! Justice! Patriotism! 'mmurica! Hip hip hooray! *throws top hat into the air*
It felt like a really long pandemonium of a day regardless of the fact that much of it was spent stationary, sitting or standing. I enjoyed each moment though, storing them in the deep recesses of my brain to remember: individual fireworks saved for a temporary sparkle of nostalgia before fading away.
|Obligatory blurry photo.|