Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
The mayor known far and wide for his public health initiatives presided over the annual weigh-in ceremony for hot dog-eating champions.
“Let me be perfectly frank,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said of the annual hotdog eating contest, “I relish it.”
At the ceremony at City Hall Park, the puns kept coming. Bloomberg called New York the “top dog” in the culinary world, but said, "there’s one iconic delicacy whose pedigree is pure NYC and one special occasion that elevates its consumption to gastronomic glory, and you know what I’m talking about.”
The Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest has been a New York City tradition for 97 years. Joey Chestnut and Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas will defend their titles Wednesday on Coney Island. Chestnut weighed in at 210 pounds and Thomas at 100 pounds. Other top-ranked eaters include Patrick Bertoletti, Eater X Janus and Crazy Legs Conti.
The mayor said he was looking forward to seeing who the winner would be this year, “if one of their dogged pursuers will finally catch up, cut the mustard and be pronounced wiener.”
Realizing how many puns were crammed into his speech, the mayor threw caution to the wind and said, “that was really impressive. Who wrote this s--t?”
The weigh in comes a day after the mayor responded to push back over his proposed ban on large sugary drinks, arguing those who are opposed to his plan “don’t want … people to live” longer, healthier lives.
“This is craziness,” Bloomberg said. “These people who are out there who literally don’t want these people to live four years longer.”
Colby Hamilton and the Associated Press contributed reporting