Coney Island 4th of July Celebrations: Fireworks, Roller Coasters & Hotdogs

City Tales

Coney Island 4th of July Celebrations: Fireworks, Roller Coasters & Hotdogs

City Tales

3 July, 2017

The 4th of July celebrations on Coney Island are certainly different.


Independence Day on Coney Island features one of the most unique (sporting?) competitions in America, beach fun, amusement park thrills and an incredible fireworks display. Coney Island on the fourth of July is a feast for the senses.

Nathan’s Famous

Before we get onto the 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest we first need to learn a bit about the company behind America’s favourite hot dog.

Nathan’s Famous began as a small hot dog stand in Coney Island after Nathan Handwerker and his wife Ida, migrants from Poland, established the business in 1916. Nathan’s rise to the top comes down to two factors; the delicious and classic all-American hot dogs they serve, and some great PR.

100 years is a long time to build a reputation but it almost never happened.  When the now famous hot dog seller first opened, the public was skeptical of this strange new food and Nathan’s was in jeopardy of going under.  To build confidence in their product Nathan’s offered free hot dogs to the doctors from the nearby Coney Island Hospital but there was a catch, the doctors had to show up in their white coats, they did and the strategy worked and the rest, as they say, is history.

Since then Nathan’s has had some notable customers. Legendary Brooklyn native Al Capone was a big fan as were Cary Grant, Barbra Streisand and Jacqueline Kennedy. In 1939 President Roosevelt famously served Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs to the British Royals. Whilst Governor of New York Nelson Rockefeller stated, “No man can hope to be elected in his state without being photographed eating a hot dog at Nathan’s Famous.” So you see Nathan’s Famous restaurants, especially the Coney Island flagship, are institutions!

Nathan’s Hot Dog eating Contest

The first major & recorded hot dog eating contest was held on the Fourth of July 1972 and won by Jason Schechter who managed 14 dogs in 10 minutes. 2016’s mens champion was Joey Chestnut who polished off 70 whilst women’s champ Miki Sudo put away 38.5 – so you see, competitive eating has come a long way.

The 4th of July Hot Dog eating contest is the culmination of months of qualifiers that take place across the U.S. which pit some of the world’s greatest competitive eaters against each other.

The 4th of July program begins at 10am with the main event starting at 12 noon. Head to Nathan’s flagship restaurant at 1310 Surf Ave on the corner of Stillwell Ave to witness a beloved New York tradition.

4th of July Activities on Coney Island

Besides the Hot Dog eating contest there is plenty of fun to be had on Coney Island on the fourth of July.

Beach & Boardwalk

The 3 mile stretch of beach and accompanying boardwalk is a great place to take some sun or simply walk amongst the jubilant crowds, fun carnival games and quirky shops.

Luna Park

Coney Island has long been known for its amusement park and roller coasters. Luna Park is home to the famous Cyclone roller coaster which dates back to 1927 and is listed as a National Historic Landmark.


As well as Macy’s pyrotechnics over the East River (which can be seen from Coney Island) there is a spectacular fireworks show on Coney Island itself. Look up at 9.30pm for a sensational audio-visual display.

The 4th of July Celebrations on Coney Island are set to be a fantastic day of  family fun, not to be missed.

For more information on visiting New York City or to enquire about our range of guided and private tours, see our website or contact us now on

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