Thousands visited the Nathan’s Famous flagship location on Surf Avenue Saturday to pay a nickel for a frankfurter during the company’s 100th Anniversary.
The company rolled back prices to 1916 to honor the day Nathan Handwerker opened the business. The polish immigrant famously sold his hot dogs for five cents in order to undercut his competitor (and former employer) Feltman’s German Gardens. A century later, Feltman’s survives only in the history books — though there is an effort to revive the brand — while Nathan’s has grown into a global franchise.
The line of people waiting for a taste of the special occasion stretched almost halfway down Stillwell Avenue. However, the wait was hardly what some travelers might have experienced this weekend getting through airport security.
Brooklynite Jonathan Emontuori said it took him only 10 minutes to get six hot dogs. He said he’s been visiting Nathan’s for years and was happy to take part in one of the company’s biggest milestones.
“I think it’s really cool they’re celebrating 100 years,” he said. “It’s definitely the best place to go for hot dogs anywhere.”
Shawn Brown, a Navy seaman visiting New York for Fleet Week, said his cousin recommended he visit Nathan’s while in town.
“I love hot dogs. And I think this is a really special place,” he said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray were also among the more than 10,000 people who visited Nathan’s for the 100th anniversary, the Daily New reports.
The mayor reportedly honored Nathan’s with a special proclamation before he and his wife chowed down on some hot dogs.
The Mayor and the First Lady at Nathans 100th birthday celebration #ConeyIsland pic.twitter.com/09sp4fhOIv
— NYPD 60th Precinct (@NYPD60Pct) May 28, 2016
However, the mayor’s visit was not without controversy. The area’s elected officials, City Councilman Mark Treyger, State Senator Diane Savino and Assembywoman Pamela Harris issued a joint statement condemning the mayor for finding time to visit the amusement district while NYCHA buildings in the neighborhood’s west end continue to be neglected.
“We are outraged to learn that Mayor de Blasio found time in his schedule to visit Nathan’s today without visiting the west end of Coney Island,” the statement reads.
The elected official chastised the mayor for not fulfilling promises to repair community centers and Sandy-damaged utilities at the area’s public housing.
“We wonder where the Mayor’s priorities are if he has time to stand in a line and scarf down a hot dog, but he cannot find the time to visit his constituents and make good on his commitments. Next time, the Mayor should arrive in Coney Island with an improved transportation plan that includes a ferry, considering the sort of traffic congestion the area faced today,” they said.