The American hotdog is the essence of America, composed of many parts, possible cancerous and strangely comforting.
There’s nothing more American than eating a hotdog watching explosions set off for your titillation, drinking a cherry coke while cheering on a select group of elite athletes choking down a small caravan’s worth of meat.
The hot dog eating competition on July 4th at Coney Island is a true exhibition of Americanism.
It brings the best, the hungriest, the names you’re likely to forget, to compete not just for a yellow mustard belt but for the chance to be America (even if the winner is Japanese).
Nathan’s hotdog which has hosted the event on the corner of Surf & Stillwell since the 1970s, increasingly markets to foreign tourists and the American public with celebrities and controversies over PETA objections.
Ultimately, it will be the price of Americanism that will dissuade people as a single hotdog with fries and drink costs now over $10.
Yet Coney Island is worth visiting if only during the non beach season.
During the off season, you can join the “little Odessa” morning boardwalkers, the Luna theme park few customers, the lonely sea lions barking at the Aquarium and salute the American flag at the Cyclones baseball game, as the last smells of hotdogs and sunscreen wafts in the quiet autumn air.
America like a hotdog at Coney Island is more than its parts. It is joyous experimental experience that we take for granted.