No Fourth of July Without Nathan’s Hot Dogs

July 5, 2013 5:50 am Last Updated: July 5, 2013 6:38 am

NEW YORK—The longer you wait, the closer you get to eating that hot dog. It’s Independence Day and what better way to celebrate than a Nathan’s hot dog on Coney Island.

Some 300 people lined up at any given time to the counter of Coney Island’s iconic dog purveyor. People said they waited anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. Some said they didn’t care for the wait because they did it for the sake of tradition. Others walked away snarking “never again.”

After getting his hot dog and waiting for his friend to follow suit, one customer said, “I really don’t know why I waited. There are many restaurants besides this one. Maybe I’ll go there next time.”

There is nothing to protect those who waited on one of the seven lines from the scorching sun. Some wore sunglasses, some brought umbrellas, some dashed to the lines straight from the ocean, their backs still wet as they stood in line. Others spiced things up. One young woman wore a mustard suit.

“It’s the Fourth of July,” she explained. “It’s tradition, why not?”

A classic Nathan’s hot dog costs $3.95. Each is accompanied by a thin red fork, which some said is an essential part of the experience.

Behind the counter 40-50 servers bustled, wearing matching green and yellow polos and baseball hats. Nathan’s also sells burgers, fries, cheese steaks, seafood, beer, and soda.

Behind the long lines of hungry beach goers, an endless stream of people filled the boardwalk. A few steps further crowds bustled and rested on a packed beach beneath a cloudless sky. Patience is a virtue.