Coney Island’s hot dog contest headlines a sizzling Fourth of July in NYC

Coney Island’s hot dog contest headlines a sizzling Fourth of July in NYC

Beaches will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. as temperatures hit the 90s.

The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is expected to draw thousands to Coney Island's boardwalk on Wednesday for the 102nd annual showdown.
The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is expected to draw thousands to Coney Island’s boardwalk on Wednesday for the 102nd annual showdown. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Despite the Fourth of July landing on a Wednesday, there still will be plenty of options for New Yorkers looking to soak up the sun and gobble some grilled goods.

Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s on Wednesday and stay in that range for the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service. For those looking to bask in the heat, city beaches will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Coney Island will be the beach to watch as the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest kicks off its 102nd year. George Shea, the host of the event, said hundreds of fans are expected to pack the boardwalk to catch this year’s chow-down, and he predicts they’re in for a major show.

Joey Chestnut, the contest’s 72-dog record holder, has won 10 of the past 11 competitions and will be back to defend his title. However, newcomer Carmen Cincotti is eyeing an epic upset. Cincotti has been ranked No. 2 in Major League Eating, and has been goading Chestnut with his practice runs of 70 hot dogs, according to Shea.

“There has been a huge social media back-and-forth between the two of them,” Shea said. “Joey is confident, but this is the biggest challenge he will face.”

ESPN 2 will broadcast the noon matchup live and stream it on its mobile app. Shea said fans and other visitors will have a lot of fun during the pregame festivities, which include live bands, games and face painting.

“It relates to the wild and crazy tradition,” Shea said of the contest. “It’s traditionally part of the Fourth of July, and it’s traditionally part of Coney Island.”

If you’ll be out and about elsewhere on Wednesday, the city urges New Yorkers to use mass transit when possible, even when traveling to parties or other events the rest of the week. AAA estimated 2.8 million New York State drivers will be on the road during the holiday week, and, as a result, travel times will more than double.

The worst day to drive in the city will be Tuesday between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., according to AAA.

The NYPD will be on high alert throughout the week of festivities, especially during the Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. Roughly 6,000 uniformed and plainclothes cops, bomb-sniffing dogs and more than 100 vehicles will protect the expected two million people checking out the pyrotechnic display at various locations along the East River, according to the NYPD.

Ivan Pereira